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Democratic Republic of Congo: Children

Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects the United Nations Envoy on Children and Armed Conflict to report following her mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo. (126697)

The United Nations Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Ms Radhika Coomaraswamy, visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 4-9 March. She will brief the diplomatic community on return to New York after 14 March.

The Special Representative's visit aims to ensure greater protection for children as the DRC emerges from years of civil war. She will discuss with the Congolese Government the issues of children associated with armed groups, sexual violence and impunity.

Progress on disarmament and demobilisation of child soldiers in the DRC has been relatively successful. But their reintegration back into society has been slow. The UK has given £15 million to the World Bank-led regional multi-country demobilisation and reintegration programme and £3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross for programmes including child reintegration. We will continue to press the new DRC Government to take responsibility for reintegration and make it a priority.