Today, 245 million children worldwide live in countries and territories affected by armed conflicts. Conflict disproportionately affects thousands of girls and boys, who are forced to serve as soldiers in situations of armed conflict.
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, along with Lieutenant-General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire, today announced the launch of the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, on the margins of the 2017 United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Vancouver Principles are a set of political commitments endorsed by UN member states that enhance the ability of personnel in UN peacekeeping operations to:
take a more assertive approach to preventing child recruitment;
strengthen the identification of early warning signs;
establish reporting on abuses and grave violations against children in armed conflict;
encourage the inclusion of child protection mandates in peacekeeping operations; and
provide psychological support for peacekeepers who face child soldiers.
Canada commends all endorsing states for their commitment to protect children in the context of peacekeeping operations and for their efforts to ensure that all children have safe spaces to learn and grow.
In support of these efforts, Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) is providing $1.25 million for a joint project of UNICEF and the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
“Eliminating all violations against children in all settings, including in situations of armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies, is a priority for Canada. Canada recognizes the need and firmly supports efforts to prevent the unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, as well as to rehabilitate and reintegrate children who have been recruited and involved in hostilities.” Marie-Claude Bibeau Minister of International Development and La Francophonie