Germany to aid 725,000 dollars for arms affected children

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Kathmandu, Mar 21 (UNI) Germany will provide nearly 725,000 US dollars for the programme to support the children associated with armed forces and armed groups in Nepal being undertaken by the government and UNICEF.

Issuing a press statement today, UNICEF informed that the programme is helping young people to reintegrate into society and rebuild normal lives for them after years in which they may have lived in an armed of militarised environment.

''With this significant contribution, Germany and UNICEF are expressing their willingness to assist the Nepal Government in realising its commitment to protect all children from any kind of violence and involvement in conflict,'' said Gillian Mellsop, Country Representative of UNICEF in Nepal, statement said.

Mellsop also encouraged the Nepal Government to speed up the process to release those identified as minors from the Maoist People's Liberation (PLA) cantonments and called for a long-term government strategy to reintegrate conflict victim children.

''It is the Nepal Government's responsibility to ensure that all children concerned have access to social services which respond to their needs,'' Mellsop added in the statement.

The German government also expressed its support for Nepal in the process of reintegrating the children associated with armed conflict.

''The work undertaken by UNICEF and others to reintegrate these children and youth into society, to provide them new and peaceful opportunities and perspectives is of the utmost importance, not only for the future of the children but also for the fragile peace process in Nepal,'' the statement quoted Norbert Meyer, Deputy Chief of the German Mission to Nepal, as saying.

UNICEF's programme of reintegration of children associated with armed groups began in 2007 and is currently supported by several donors (Belgium, UK DFID, Japan, and the European Union).

The CAAFAG Working Group (which comprises of NGOs, INGOs, UNICEF and other UN agencies) had already provided support to more than 3,500 children and young people formerly associated with armed groups across the country, the statement informed.

The statement further said the support aims to ensure protection and caring of these young people through the provision of services such as education, vocational training, and social support, and also through support to community-based structures to help prevent further recruitment.

UNI XC JT KN2248

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