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Democratic Republic of Congo: Children

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has provided for rehabilitation of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. (243087)

The UK has contributed U$35 million to the World Bank led Multi-Country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (MDRP), which supports the demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants in the greater Great Lakes region of central Africa. The largest programme of its kind in the world, the MDRP, with a budget of U$ 500 million, targeted an estimated 450,000 ex-combatants in seven countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The MDRP has enabled 30,219 children to be released from armed forces in DRC and to receive services from child protection agencies, including UNICEF. Projects targeting children have primarily focused on tracing their families, facilitating family reunion and providing either vocational training or income generating activities.

Going forward, a new single trust fund has been set up by the World Bank to which the UK (from Africa Conflict Prevention Pool funds) has contributed £1 million. The children component is implemented by Save the Children. This child protection agency has a project targeting for the moment 2,500 children associated with armed forces in eastern DRC.