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Somalia: Children

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to uphold the rights of children in captivity in Somalia. (202754)

The Government are committed to improving children's rights through access to education. In this respect, the Department for International Development (DFID) is already actively engaged in the education sector in Somalia.

The UK is committed to playing an active role in the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, which includes a focus on children detained for alleged association with armed groups in violation of international standards. Somalia is one of the 18 situations of concern listed by the UN Secretary-General in his Seventh Report to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict. The work plans for this year include producing country reports and adopting conclusions on several countries including Somalia.

In recent years, the Government have funded the distribution of school textbooks through the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the establishment of an examination system in Somaliland with the Africa Educational Trust, as well as supporting basic primary education needs in the Hiraan region through Save the Children-UK. Last year DFID entered into a £6 million education partnership with the UN Children's Fund and UNESCO to strengthen access to basic education in Somalia.