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Armed Conflict: Children

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Jonathan Lord Jonathan Lord Conservative, Woking

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support children in conflict zones throughout the world.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK is firmly committed to protecting all children affected by conflict and in particular ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The UK is the largest single financial contributor to the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), contributing £800,000 over the last five years to her Office and £450,000 for the 2019/20 financial year in support of her mandate. The UK is an active member of the United Nations Working Group on CAAC which leads the international response on child protection, supporting the SRSG's work by applying diplomatic pressure to listed governments and armed groups.

In 2018, the UK endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, a political commitment to reduce the impact of conflict on education, and the Vancouver Principles, a political commitment to operationalise child protection during the conduct of United Nations peacekeeping operations. We continue to support these key instruments. The UK is mainstreaming child protection into its own military deployments through bespoke training. Through the Department for International Development, we are one of the largest bilateral donors to "Education Cannot Wait", an initiative which protects access to education for children in conflict zones.

In November 2019, the UK will host an international conference on preventing sexual violence in conflict. A key focus will be how we can better support children born of sexual violence in conflict, including tackling stigma.

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