To further the cause of preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the Department of National Defence will be pouring $1.175 million over the next five years to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, announced the Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.
Additionally, the Canadian Armed Forces, in partnership with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, will be creating a Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, within the Canadian Defence Academy.
“Recognizing the tragic fate suffered by children in armed conflict around the world, I want to thank all of the individuals, organizations and Member States that contributed to the development of the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles. This practical resource will have real-world impacts and help to protect children. I also like to express my appreciation to General Roméo Dallaire for his leadership on the Vancouver Principles. The work he has done has provided us all with a strong foundation for the Vancouver Principles, the Implementation Guidance and now, the Centre of Excellence,” said Sajjan during Tuesday’s announcement.
The Centre will focus on supporting the CAF’s implantation of the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, a document developed by Canada in collaboration with UN Member states and other UN entities. Launched in 2017, the Vancouver Principles were developed in partnership with LGen.’s (ret’d) imitative and have been endorsed by 89 Member States.
“I have dedicated my life to ensuring soldiers are prepared and children are protected in situations of armed conflict, because both are central to achieving peace. The establishment of the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security will have an impact on soldiers, on children, and on global peace and security. Today marks a momentous step to work together as an international community to take on the hard work that is needed to make great change, by implementing the Vancouver Principles. I am grateful for our partnership with the Canadian government and their dedication to improve peacekeeping operations, and for all the hard work of the Dallaire Initiative team who have made this possible,” said LGen. (ret’d) Roméo A. Dallaire, founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
Canada is leading the way to develop the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles, which includes hosting the International Review Workshop on the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles in Ottawa earlier this year.
The Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security will bring together these initiatives to support research, sponsor doctrinal changes, and develop concepts.
Funding towards the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative will be used to conduct research and identify lessons learned and best practices regarding the prevention of child soldiers. According to a DND press release the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative will also hold annual workshops with the Forces to communicate the results of its research.
“The Centre of Excellence will draw on a diversity of expertise and perspectives from across academia and civil society to effectively fulfill its mandate. Its flexible nature will also position the Canadian Defence Academy to consider other emerging human security topics, such as sexual exploitation and abuse, conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and human shields,” said RAdm. Luc Cassivi, Commander Canadian Defence Academy.