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Forced Labour: Children

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to encourage overseas governments not to force children to become soldiers. (206718)

The UK actively supports international efforts to protect children affected by armed conflict. As a member of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict we have contributed to action against parties that were violating child rights in states such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Through the EU we have assisted in establishing EU guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict. Domestically, the UK has ratified the Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has endorsed the Paris Commitments and the Paris Principles to protect children from the unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups.

The UK also supports and facilitates the work of international courts and tribunals which try alleged perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community including those against children.