HALIFAX, Nov. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (Dallaire Initiative) and the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) will co-host a regional conference in Kigali to empower nations to take proactive, early and coordinated action to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers by implementing the Vancouver Principles on Prevention of the recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers.
Rwanda was the first African nation to endorse the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, which are now endorsed by 95 nations globally. Currently, Rwanda is the second largest troop contributing nation to UN peacekeeping missions. They have become a world leader in UN peacekeeping and are committed to furthering the protection of civilians, as was demonstrated through their creation of the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians. The Dallaire Initiative and the Ministry of Defence have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to further this commitment to the prevention of the recruitment and use of children in Africa and around the globe.
"Peacekeeping is now considered part of Rwanda's national identity and its forces are known ? and respected for ? protecting civilians in some of the gravest conflicts," says Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Dallaire Initiative. "We look forward to showcasing the extensive work we have done together to enhance the capacity of the Rwanda Defence Force to proactively be prepared to stop the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. I am confident that, through this workshop, we will be able to collectively identify the steps we can take to operationalize the Vancouver Principles in neighbouring countries as well."
The event coincides with the second anniversary of the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, a Canadian-led initiative that seeks to prioritize and further operationalize child protection within UN peacekeeping missions with a focus on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The Dallaire Initiative partnered with the Government of Canada in drafting Vancouver Principles and has played a central role in building their accompanying Implementing Guidelines, released earlier this year. The 17 tangible measures contained within the guidelines help endorsers undertake early, effective, and coordinated action to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
About the Vancouver Principles
Launched on 15 November 2017, the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers (known as the Vancouver Principles) are a set of political commitments endorsed by Member States regarding the prevention of recruitment and use of child soldiers in a peacekeeping context. The Vancouver Principles are geared towards troop and police contributors operating under a UN peacekeeping mandates.
By endorsing the Vancouver Principles, Member States acknowledge the unique and far-reaching challenges posed by child soldiers. They commit to prioritizing the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the context of UN peacekeeping operations and to helping ensure that all peacekeepers ? military, police, and civilian ? are prepared and directed to take appropriate action.
About the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
Founded by Retired Lieutenant-General and celebrated humanitarian Roméo Dallaire, The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a global partnership committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide, through ground-breaking research, advocacy, and security-sector training.
SOURCE The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
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