Ottawa, Ontario - February 12, 2019

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers:

“Child soldiers experience what no human being should. They are denied their childhood and, all too often, a chance to reclaim their future and lead a normal life.

“The use of child soldiers has no place in our world. On the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, also known as Red Hand Day, Canada reaffirms its long-standing commitment to protect children and end this heinous practice.

“Earlier this month, Canada hosted international partners to develop new guidance to implement the Vancouver Principles, which have now been endorsed by 71 nations around the world. Canada also provided funding for a project with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and Dalhousie University to help end recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan. Through the Child Soldier Doctrine, the Canadian Armed Forces are able to better plan and train for conflict situations involving child soldiers.

“All children deserve a safe space to learn and grow. As part of our G7 Presidency last year, Canada and international partners announced a historic investment of $3.8 billion – the single largest investment of its kind – to support education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations. Canada has also endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration to protect schools, teachers, and students during armed conflict.

“Canada will continue to lead the fight against the recruitment and use of child soldiers. By bringing countries together, and putting the Vancouver Principles into action, we can make sure children remain children, and build a safer, more just future for all.”