A recent visit of the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict reported that in North Kivu there were 1,200 child soldiers. However, it is difficult to assess the accuracy of this figure or to find a reliable estimate regarding the overall number of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Last year new cases of recruitment of children were attributed to a number of armed groups including the Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Resistance, Mai-Mai, the National Congress for the Defence of the People, the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda and the Lords Resistance Army.
We are concerned by reports of continuing child recruitment in violation of international law, including those being integrated into the Congolese armed forces due to the lack of a proper screening process. The UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) has reported some recent successes in freeing child soldiers, including the rescue of 23 children in South Kivu at the end of April 2009.
The UK Border Agency wrote to the noble Lord with regard to this family on 15 May 2009.