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Estonia Supports Action to Prevent Recruitment of Child Soldiers in Somalia

25.04.2011

Nr 145-E
 

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the Foreign Ministry is allocating 30 000 euros from its budget for humanitarian aid to protect the children of Somalia from being recruited to participate in armed conflicts. The project is being carried out by the UN Children’s Fund.

The foreign minister said that the civil war in Somalia, which has a population of ten million, has been going on since 1991, which is why the country is in a state of humanitarian disaster. Over half a million people have been displaced and close to four million are in need of aid. “There are obstacles to humanitarian aid arriving in Somalia. Humanitarian aid workers and aid shipments are attacked and robbed,” said Paet.

“The practice of recruiting children from 14-18 years of age, and sometimes even younger, to be soldiers is common in Somalia,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that child soldiers are also recruited to be pirates. “Half of the registered encounters with pirates in the world take place off the coast of Somalia,” Paet noted.
 

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