Former Lt.-Gen. and senator Romeo Dallaire says Canada is in a position to lead when it comes to child soldiers like Omar Khadr.
"People forget the resilience; [refugees] are human beings that have survived."
As the world's youngest country, South Sudan, marks the third year of a vicious civil war, I am learning the heart-wrenching stories of some of the 200,000 civilians who have sought shelter in UN-protected camps. I'm here to learn about the impact of the conflict, especially on children.
In our data driven world, numbers are key in terms of conveying the size of a problem or the intensity that we should pay attention to it. However, many of the world's most intractable problems continue to defy any systemic approaches to be easily counted. This is particularly accurate when assessing the effects of war on children.
Some 31,000 women are currently pregnant inside the Islamic State. These children born out of conflict will form the future ranks of the group. School curriculum is being altered and reshaped to support extremism and strict adherence to the Islamic State's view of religion and philosophy. Children are desensitized to violence and trained for combat from an early age. This presents a complex, yet vitally important, challenge for any nations engaged with the Islamic State.
In a film that makes such a poignant case about valuing the perspectives of those seldom considered (children in general and children caught in the midst of conflict in particular), it appears to fail at achieving just that -- for Africans.
Every day we witness the power of young people to transform their communities and the world. The potential lost when a child is handed an AK-47 instead of a schoolbook or soccer ball is one of the greatest tragedies imaginable. But as governments stop recruiting children, over the past year militias and terror groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, have horrifyingly indoctrinated thousands more. And the way these militias use their children is changing in terrifying ways.
Today's conflicts are smaller in scale than the world wars on which we normally focus come Remembrance Day. But tragically, so are many of the soldiers. There are some 250,000 child soldiers in the world today, mostly in Africa. Children the age of my school-aged sons are shoved headlong into a hell that's unimaginable for most adults, let alone a child.
In the Luo language, John Lacambel says, "Hello! This is Lacambel here at 102 Mega FM. It is Thursday and the time is now 10 p.m. This is Come Back Home." During the height of the 20-year-long brutal war with the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, Lacambel was broadcasting Come Back Home up to three times a week to counter LRA propaganda. During the height of the 20-year-long brutal war with the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, Lacambel was broadcasting Come Back Home up to three times a week to counter LRA propaganda.
The day before "The Good Lie," his breakout Hollywood film, celebrated its world premiere at the Toronto International Film