§ Mr. Woodward
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the use of child soldiers in the countries of the Great Lakes region in Africa. 
§ Mr. Mullin
The UK condemns unequivocally the use of child soldiers.
We are particularly concerned about the widespread use of child soldiers in the Great Lakes region. The UK has contributed US$25 million to the Multi-Country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (MDRP). The funds for this will be used in part in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to enable the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) of child soldiers. We have provided an additional £750,000 directly to UNICEF to help its programme until funding under the MDRP becomes available. The UK has also provided technical assistance to the Congolese to enable them to draw up a National Programme for DDR.
In Uganda, the UK gave £450,000 to UNICEF and Save the Children last Financial Year to rehabilitate children who have escaped from their Lords Resistance Army. We have discussed with the Ugandan Government reports of under-age soldiers being recruited by the Government defence units in the North. The Government of Uganda has assured us that they are 84W co-operating with UNICEF to identify and demobilise the recruits. Our High Commission in Kampala is monitoring the situation.