2012 Annual Report - The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

Our 2012 Annual Report highlights our training, research and advocacy efforts over the course of the year. It also looks at our new handbook, the new documentary Fight Like Soldiers Die Like Children, and our work on children in marine piracy. All of us at the Initiative wish to thank our allies, donors, partners and friends for having assisted our work throughout the past year. Our efforts to eradicate the use of child soldiers would not have been possible without your ongoing support. —The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative / ChildSoldiers.org

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  The Roméo DallaireChild Soldiers Initiative  A NOTE FROMTHE FOUNDERLGen (Ret’d)RoméoDallaire photo by Stephanie Giggcover photo by Peter Bregg  When it comes to cracking the code and puttingan end to the cycle o recruitment o childrenin armed conict, I truly believe that preventionis more cost-eective—both morally andfnancially—than picking up the pieces ater war.The sta at The Roméo Dallaire Child SoldiersInitiative has been so busy this year conductingresearch, acilitating training and advocating orthe eradication o the use o child soldiers aroundthe word. It is through their tireless eorts thatwe have shown that by engaging security sectoractors on this issue we can changes attitudes,which in turn changes behaviours and ultimatelysaves children’s lives.I have personally witnessed the destruction ochildren who have been recruited as soldiers—this is what has led me to work on this issue oryears. I am confdent that we can win this fght.There is cause or great hope. Notorious userso child soldiers—such as Thomas Lubangaand Charles Taylor—are being convictedby international courts. Non-governmentalorganisations are adapting and showing interestin collaborating with the security sector. Ourpartners in the feld and at the United Nationshave all expressed tremendous support orthe Initiative’s groundbreaking work on thedevelopment o Standard Operating Proceduresand Rules o Engagement regarding childsoldiers. The will to work together to advancethe interests o children, both beore and duringconict, is on the rise and the Initiative isproudly leading the way.Our team is led by Dr. Shelly Whitman, whoseingenuity and dedication to the Initiative’s ethoscommands my deepest respect. She herselis supported by a dynamic and impassionedsta, including Tanya Zayed, Carl Conradi, JulieBreau, Matt Campbell and most recently, LoriWard. Without their sincere commitment—andthe institutional support provided by DalhousieUniversity—my desire to see a better uture orthe world’s children would not be possible.I have stated that the ultimate ocus o the resto my lie is to eradicate the use o child soldiersand to eliminate even the thought o the useo children as an instrument o war. I am now,more than ever, determined to achieve this aim.I believe that i we can end the use o childsoldiers globally, we may actually go a long wayin preventing and addressing conicts. Let usnot be araid to go orward boldly together toalter the status quo and end the use o childsoldiers—one step at a time.Peux ce que veux. Allons-y! LGen (Ret’d)Roméo Dallaire 3  Looking back over the past twelve months,I can say with certainty that 2012 has beenour most rewarding and exciting year on record.As the year progressed, we have grown as anorganisation, welcoming a number o new stamembers into our amily. We have completedgroundbreaking projects that had been ongoingsince the Initiative’s inception. We haveexpanded our operations to include new countriesand new benefciaries, and received signifcantsources o new unding, which have allowed us tokeep pace with the growing need or our work.But the military recruitment o childrencontinues. Last year ended with an outbreako child recruitment by the M23 rebel groupin the eastern Democratic Republic o Congo,while the new year began with a war in Mali,where Islamist orces have been purchasingboys and girls to serve as combatants and slavesin their fght against the central government.These young people are now joining the rankso hundreds o thousands o other child soldierscurrently being used in countries around theworld. A NOTE FROMTHE executivedirectorDr ShellyWhitman photo by Matt Campbell
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