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February 12th, 2023

NDP Statement on The International Day Against The Use of Child Soldiers

The critic for Foreign Affairs, NDP MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona), made the following statement:

“All children deserve a safe childhood, an education, and protection from violence and conflict.

But today, thousands of boys and girls are used in conflict zones worldwide. Children are being exploited as frontline soldiers, spies, informants, cooks and porters in armed conflict. The lifelong trauma from the violence they endure is unimaginable, and there is little support for rehabilitation if they escape the atrocities of war.

The recruitment and use of child soldiers is one of six grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict. Other grave violations include the killing of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access. Children experience these abuses every day in conflicts across the world.

Through targeted funding, increased political support and innovative programming, Canada could do more and could become a leader in children’s rights. This includes calling out these grave violations where they occur – in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, or in the denial of Palestinian children’s rights.

In addition, Canada should increase support for the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda to ensure that youth peacebuilders in fragile contexts are supported in their efforts to build peaceful and resilient communities.

New Democrats honour the vital work of Canadian organizations working to improve the lives of children in the world’s most fragile places. No child should have to live through the atrocities of war, and New Democrats are committed to helping to build a more peaceful world for all.”