Canada is an unwavering advocate against the use of children in armed conflicts and is working diligently alongside the United Nations (UN), Member States, and civil society to take tangible steps toward preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
In support of this, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence today announced that the Canadian Armed Forces, in partnership with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is establishing the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, within the Canadian Defence Academy. Named after Lieutenant-General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire, the Centre of Excellence’s initial focus will be to support the Canadian Armed Forces’ implementation of the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers.
To this end, Minister Sajjan announced that the Department of National Defence will be providing the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative with a contribution of $1.175 million over five years to conduct research and identify lessons learned and best practices regarding the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers. In addition, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative will hold annual workshops with the Forces to communicate the results of its research.
Minister Sajjan also announced the publication of the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles. This document is a practical resource that will serve as the basis for Member States to develop or amend their policies, doctrine, training and education on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The document was developed by the Government of Canada in collaboration with Member States, UN entities, and civil society organizations.
“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.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“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.”
Lieutenant-General (Retired) Roméo A. Dallaire, founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
“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.”
Rear-Admiral Luc Cassivi, Commander Canadian Defence Academy
The Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers were developed by Canada in cooperation with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative in order to bring greater focus on the challenges of addressing child soldiers in the context of peacekeeping operations.
The Vancouver Principles are a set of political commitments by Member States to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Since their launch in November 2017, the Vancouver Principles have been endorsed by 89 Member States.
Canada has led an inclusive and collaborative process to develop the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles. This includes hosting the International Review Workshop on the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles in Ottawa from February 5 to 7, 2019, where more than 75 experts worked together to refine the final guidance.
The core mandate of the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security is to support research, sponsor doctrinal changes, develop concepts, and capture lessons learned and best practices, in support of CAF doctrine, training, and education.