Romeo Dallaire and Shelly Whitman: Remember the child soldiers killed in battle, too

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By: Romeo Dallaire and Shelly Whitman

November is a month of remembrance. It is a month when we should take the time to remember the military men and women who have lost their lives serving to protect others from conflict. At this time we need to also remember those men and women in police uniforms that represent our country in peacekeeping missions. Currently, Canada has deployed personnel in 13 United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world.

I served as the Force Commander for the UNAMIR mission in Rwanda nearly 20 years ago, where I was first exposed to the use of children in armed combat. My troops and I were faced with traumatic moral dilemmas that will impact us for a lifetime. At that time, we were unprepared for the situation we faced in Rwanda and today, 20 years later, military men and women are still as unprepared to face the systemic use of children in war. One only needs to turn on the news to see that children are still being used as a weapon in Mali, Central African Republic, Sudan, Somalia, the DRC and even Syria.

This November, we must also remember those child soldiers lost in battle. However, children rarely enter the conversation in this manner on Remembrance Day