The Government of Canada is investing in the Dal-hosted Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative — a partnership set to help the Canadian Armed Forces better prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world.
Last week (June 25), at an event in Toronto, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, announced a contribution of $1.175 million over five years to the Dallaire Initiative. In addition to supporting the initiative’s ongoing research and global engagement, the partnership will establish the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security within the Canadian Defence Academy.
Named after Lieutenant-General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire — also the founder of the Dallaire Initiative — 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. That principles, announced in 2017, were conceived by Government of Canada in partnership with the Dallaire Initiative, and have since been signed off on by nearly 90 countries worldwide.
“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,” said Lt-Gen Dallaire. “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.”
National and international leadership
The Centre of Excellence will draw on national and international expertise on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, informing further research that will in turn support improvements in doctrine and training. Students at the Royal Military College in Kingston and the College militaire royale in St-Jean will be trained using research gathered at the centre, ensuring the next generation of Canadian Armed Forces members are prepared for the challenge of addressing child soldiers.
“The Dallaire Centre will harness growing expertise on this issue within the Canadian defence team, and it will become a focal point for engagement with stakeholders around the world,” said Minister Sajjan. “We are proud to have the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative as our partner on this project.”
A global partnership based at Dalhousie, and founded in 2007, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative’s mission is to progressively eradicate the use and recruitment of child soldiers through a security sector approach. It is currently active in nine countries in Africa and the Middle East. For more information, visit its website.
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