HC Deb 20 May 1998 vol 312 c404W
Sir Alastair Goodlad

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries her Department has supported rehabilitation projects for former child soldiers in the past year; and what are her plans for the future. [42230]

Clare Short

Since 1997, we have supported projects in Angola, Liberia, Uganda and Rwanda, which, as part of wider support for war affected populations, have rehabilitated child soldiers. We contributed £400,000 to the International Organisation for Migration to assist the return and resettlement of war disabled in Angola which included child demobilised soldiers. In northern Uganda, we jointly funded with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office a local NGO skills training programme to rehabilitate demobilised child soldiers. Through the UK's share of aid to the European Commission, we supported the Government of Rwanda' s Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme which demobilised and provided sustained support for 2,500 child soldiers. In March 1998, a further £1 million was provided to the UN Development Programme as additional support to the second phase of the Government of Rwanda's programme. In addition, we have contributed £37.8 million in financial year 1997–98 (preliminary estimate) to support UN agencies and NGOs who are working to protect and assist vulnerable children in conflict situations.

We will explore what further assistance we can provide to help former child soldiers at a ministerial meeting, in London on 23 June, which my Department will host to give exposure to the work programme and priorities of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict to our European partners.

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