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Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether she has made representations to Sudan on accusations of sexual abuse perpetrated by its soldiers against children in the south of the country. (112267)

We are concerned by the incidence of sexual and physical abuse of children across Sudan reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) earlier this month. We will continue to support UNICEF in its endeavours to tackle this issue with all elements of the Sudanese Government including the military. The UN-Government of Sudan task force to co-ordinate the fight against child abuse by military personnel and civilians, and follow up on allegations of exploitation, was established on 18 January. We will monitor its progress closely. We will also raise the fight against child abuse in Sudan with the UN special representative for children and armed conflict and UNICEF’s deputy executive director during their visit to Sudan at the end of January.