United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section E. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for International Development stated:
The most effective way of tackling the use of child soldiers is to prevent, reduce and resolve armed conflicts. This is part of the wider issue of the impact of armed conflict on children generally, their families and communities. In addressing this, my Department is working with other UK Government Departments and other governments through appropriate regional mechanisms, the non-governmental community and the multilateral system to this end. UNICEF, with the support of my Department and other governments, works to effect the disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation of child soldiers, particularly back into the community and prevent their re-recruitment. Through a multi-year capacity building programme supported by my Department, UNICEF are collecting data on the situation of children affected by armed conflict globally, to better inform policy, guidance and programming on the wide range of issues involved.
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the United Kingdom stated:
Prevention, rehabilitation and social integration
62. The United Kingdom supports humanitarian programmes and projects run by UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs that include providing support to child soldiers. For example, we support UNHCR to work with and provide protection and humanitarian assistance to displaced children. The United Kingdom’s new institutional strategy (IS) with UNHCR for the years 2007–09 includes priority objectives about age, gender and diversity mainstreaming throughout UNHCR’s programmes. We expect this to improve efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable, including displaced children. In 2005, the United Kingdom provided £30 million to UNHCR, of which £20 million was core IS funding. In 2006, in addition to our contributions to UNHCR through country-based offices, we also provided £20 million core IS funding. United Kingdom funding for UNICEF has also included a focus on children affected by armed conflict. Our current support for UNICEF aims to improve the capacity of the organization for evidence-based advocacy in relation to violations against children. In relation to the NGO sector, the United Kingdom has funded Save the Children to train a number of child protection officers over a period of five years with the intention of addressing the issue of insufficient capacity in the protection sector of the humanitarian system. We also provide support for the Women’s Commission for refugee women and children and we help to fund the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict to raise international awareness about these issues.