I share the concerns raised for the plight of children around the world and welcome that the UK has a long history of supporting those in need of protection.
In keeping with this, HM Government contributes to a number of multilateral programmes targeted at children in humanitarian crisis zones, including those either internally displaced or who are refugees in other countries. For instance, in Somalia, the UK works with the UN and international NGOs to ensure the rights of children affected by conflict are addressed through family reunification, support to their nutrition needs and reducing the risks faced by displaced children.
The UK is also one of the largest humanitarian donors to the Syrian conflict, having committed £3.7 billion since 2012. Now in its 12th year, the conflict has caused the world’s largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. As such, I welcome that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is providing lifesaving assistance and protection to Syrian refugees in the region. This support includes programmes that specifically target vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied children and includes activities such as the provision of protection services as well as basic services such as shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene.
At home, the UK has resettled over 27,000 refugees directly from areas of conflict and instability since 2015. In addition, the refugee family route, which enables children under 18 years of age to join their family member in the UK should they have refugee or humanitarian protection status, has provided more than 39,500 family reunion visas from the same year.
Over the course of this current financial year, the UK will also provide at least £88 million in aid to the people of Yemen. Delivered through agencies including the World Food Programme and UNICEF, this will help feed 200,000 people every month, provide lifesaving healthcare for 800,000 women and children, and treat 85,000 severely malnourished children.
Indeed, the UK is a world leader when it comes to improving global education, having supported at least 15.6 million children with a quality education between 2015 and 2020 and being the biggest bilateral donor to the Global Partnership for Education, the largest fund in the world dedicated to improving education in developing countries.
It is reassuring that the UK recognises how urgent and important it is to ensure children are protected from the risks they face, and I will be sure to continue to scrutinise my ministerial colleagues to this end.