In South Sudan, a New Approach in Ending Child Soldiers’ Use


After coming face to face with "unpredictable" gun-waving children almost 25 years ago, the former commander of the failed UN peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan genocide dedicated his life to eliminating the use of children as weapons of war. In an interview with The Associated Press in civil war-torn South Sudan, Romeo Dallaire, who is widely known for warning the UN about Rwanda’s massacre in 1994, said the current approach to combating child soldier recruitment is not “sufficient.” Local security forces must be part of the solution, he said. “My personal experiences of having to negotiate with, having to face children with weapons ... may not have been the right way of doing it,” Dallaire said. His visit marked the launch of a three-year program by the Canada-based Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. The $2.2 million project funded by Global Affairs Canada aims to work with at least 1,200 South Sudanese soldiers, police, and prison personnel. The first round of training will include 50 senior army officers.

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