Photo: Josh Boyter
Photo: Josh Boyter
Photo: UN Evan Schneider
Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID
Children are used in 14 country contexts by 51 armed groups and 7 national armies
250 million children live in conflict-affected countries with some 15 million directly affected
Founded by Roméo Dallaire, retired Lieutenant-General, noted humanitarian and Canadian Senator, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a global partnership committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide, through a prevention-oriented approach. Power Corporation has supported the Dallaire Initiative since 2007.
War has changed – children around the world are now being pulled into conflict at alarming rates, creating the ever-growing threat of child soldiers on the battlefield. The Dallaire Initiative aims to work together with global leaders, militaries, police, humanitarians and academics to make a long-term impact in preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, thereby breaking the cycle of violence.
Children continue to be used as soldiers in 14 country contexts by 51 non-state armed groups and 7 state armies. Not every child soldier carries a gun in the fight for the frontline. Today they could be pushed into combat as a soldier, while tomorrow they are expected to provide at the camp as cooks, porters or sex slaves.
Housed within Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Dallaire Initiative wants to focus beyond child protection. In order to solve this problem, it must be seen as a security concern and security sector actors such as military, police and peacekeeping forces ― often the first point of contact for child soldiers― must be included as part of the solution. Through this prevention-oriented approach, the Dallaire Initiative creates the necessary tools and training, supported by research, to better protect children from recruitment, and in so doing, help end this crime against humanity, community-by-community, country-by-country, once and for all.
The Dallaire Initiative’s training produces more specialized soldiers, police, and peacekeepers, who will be better prepared reducing harm in interactions and preventing recruitment in the first instance. This represents a strategic investment that over the long term produces more cost-effective solutions. Current research priorities include: Children in Marine Piracy, Child Trafficking, Community Protection, and ethical dilemmas faced by peacekeepers who have encountered child soldiers.
“The abuse of youth as instruments of war is a reality that can't be resolved on the day you face them in the field,” said LGen Roméo Dallaire.
“Children are the priority and they need to be protected from joining armed forces and armed groups. We have a duty to humanity to do this,” added Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
“Children are used because they are considered expendable, plentiful, cheap to maintain and easily indoctrinated by the adults who recruit them,” says Gérard Veilleux, President, Power Communications. “We applaud the work of Senator Dallaire and the progress being made by the Dallaire Initiative to end the tragic use of child soldiers.”