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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development which programmes the Department funds to help with the reintegration and care of children who have escaped abduction in Northern Uganda. [126406]

Since 1988 the chief recruitment method of the Lord's Resistance Army has been the abduction and forced conscription of children. UNICEF Uganda estimate that 20,400 children have been abducted since 1990 and 6,000 of them are still unaccounted for. DFID supports the work of a number of indigenous civil society groups working for peace, including the religious and traditional leaders. We also support agencies working specifically with child ex-combatants and their communities.We have provided support to Save the Children Fund (Denmark), which includes help for the re-integration of child ex-combatants and a grant to help improve the conditions for the increasing number of unaccompanied children who are sleeping in town centres at night to avoid abduction. We also support the Uganda Red Cross (URC) via the British Red Cross, which is involved with the provision of relief items, assessment and family tracing and reunion.Over the last 12 months we have provided £2.5 million in emergency aid through the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the Uganda Red Cross Society and we are currently in the process of programming a further £1 million for urgent humanitarian needs.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent discussions the Department has had with the Government of Uganda in relation to disarmament and the collection of small firearms. [126407]

The Department for International Development has not had any recent discussions with the Government of Uganda on disarmament and small arms.Together with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence under the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP), DFID funds two nongovernmental organisations, Saferworld and Safer Africa, which are assisting the Government of Uganda to develop a five-year National Action Plan to control the proliferation of small arms. This includes disarmament and gun collection activities.£460,000 has also been provided from the GCPP to the Nairobi Secretariat to assist states, including Uganda, to implement the commitments they made in March 2001, on signing the Nairobi Declaration. The Secretariat provides training and advice to National Focal Points set up in signatory countries to prevent the proliferation of weapons and ammunition. This support included participation by the Ugandan National Focal Point Coordinator at the recent United Nations Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons, held in New York on 7-11 July 2003.