Another $100,000 In Aid For Children In Sierra Leone

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

"New Zealand will immediately contribute another $100,000 for a UNICEF project in Sierra Leone," Acting Foreign Minister Hon Simon Upton, announced today.

"The $100,000 grant is earmarked for a child soldier rehabilitation project, and to assist girl victims of rape and their families."

"Last year, New Zealand provided a package of assistance for Sierra Leone: we provided a grant of $100,000 from Development Assistance funds for a UNICEF child protection programme, and sent two NZDF personnel as military observers in the new UN peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone," Mr Upton explained.

Since making New Zealand's initial contribution, the situation in Sierra Leone has worsened. Sierra Leone is now dealing with increased civil armed conflict and faces a humanitarian crisis. The UN peacekeeping operation (UNOMISL) was tasked with monitoring the conflict and assisting in the disarming and demobilisation of combatants from Sierra Leone's seven year civil war. UNOMISL has been temporarily scaled down in size in response to the deterioration in the security situation, with New Zealand's two military observers having returned home. Meanwhile, UNICEF is still working in the field in Sierra Leone where the demands on it are increasing.

"Our first grant to UNICEF of $100,000 was used for a child soldier rehabilitation project and to assist in reuniting families who had become separated by the conflict. The new grant of $100,000 will be used to continue the child soldier rehabilitation project and to provide support for girl victims of rape - a distressing and significant new problem which has arisen following the recent occupation of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, by rebel forces," Mr Upton concluded.