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Minister held to account by Isle of Dogs schoolchildren over Britain’s refugee aid programme

PUBLISHED: 12:08 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08 22 November 2017

Minister of State Alistair Burt meets George Green's pupils to discuss UK refugee aid. Picture: Dept for International Development

Minister of State Alistair Burt meets George Green's pupils to discuss UK refugee aid. Picture: Dept for International Development

Dept for International Development

Government minister Alistair Burt has been quizzed by schoolchildren from east London about Britain’s support for refugees in war-torn areas abroad.

Pupils from George Green's School on Isle of Dogs testing refugee aid equipment on visit to Department for International Development in Whitehall. Picture: Dept for Int DevelopmentPupils from George Green's School on Isle of Dogs testing refugee aid equipment on visit to Department for International Development in Whitehall. Picture: Dept for Int Development

Six pupils from George Green’s Secondary school in on the Isle of Dogs championed children’s rights in a meeting with humanitarian experts and the Minister of State for International Development to mark Monday’s World Children’s Day.

They “held the Minister to account” on what the government is doing to support refugees, during their visit to the Department for International Development in Whitehall, and discussed how the UK can tackle the global challenges that children face.

“It was fantastic to witness the enthusiasm of George Green’s pupils,” Mr Burt said later.

“I was delighted to see them, as Britain’s ambassadors of tomorrow, take an avid interest in our role supporting refugees and vulnerable people across the world.

“The UK continues to be a world leader in providing thousands of displaced men, women and children with food, water and medicine needed to stay alive.”

Britain is “leading the way” supporting refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Bangladesh by providing food, water and shelter, he told the youngsters.

They were given a tour of the ministry building and tested the humanitarian equipment advisors use when they are rapidly deployed to respond to natural disasters.

One pupil, 16-year-old Katerina Dangova, said afterwards: “I thought before our visit that the UK only provided water bottles in a crisis—but we send a substantial amount of support equipment.

“We were impressed by a water bottle with a filter so you can drink from any source, as well as the solar lamps and head torches.”

The pupils, aged 13 to 16, also gave a presentation on the importance of children’s rights and the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.

The meeting was part of Unicef UK’s annual OutRight campaign, to get youngsters speaking out about children’s rights. World Children’s Day marked the 28th anniversary of the Convention of Children’s Rights, for minors to be heard, to have an education, to survive and to thrive.

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