New child-soldier plan expected at Vancouver peacekeeping summit

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will host representatives from about 80 countries in November

Canada has been quietly championing an initiative aimed at preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, which is expected to be unveiled at a major peacekeeping summit in Vancouver next month.

Gillian Bird, Australia’s ambassador to the UN, revealed the initiative Wednesday while addressing a UN special committee on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand in New York.

Bird says the measure, entitled “Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers,” will provide concrete steps to better protect children through peacekeeping.

The Liberal government is refusing to discuss the initiative, but earlier this year, the Canadian military became the first in the world to issue guidelines for dealing with child soldiers.

Those guidelines, developed in concert with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, are intended to ensure Canadian troops are properly trained and emotionally prepared for dealing with child soldiers in the field.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will host representatives from about 80 countries involved in peacekeeping in Vancouver from Nov. 14-15.

The Canadian Press

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