The Vancouver Principles - A Moral Grammar for Empowered Witness


  • Wendy Kean



child soldiers, moral trauma, Vancouver Principles, chaplain care


In June 2014, General (retired) Romeo Dallaire opened a speech on the subject of child solders to the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service with these words: “Religion is insufficient to attenuate the evil.1 This paper responds to General Dallaire‘s statement by examining how The Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers (hereafter The Vancouver Principles) meet the need for new language to address the encounter with children on operations. It argues that a particular set of agreed upon terms to support soldiers throughout the deployment cycle is needed, not only for ending the recruitment and use of children and youth as participants in war, but also to provide the basis for a moral grammar to help peacekeepers and other actors in theatres of operations remain empowered and healthy on mission and afterwards.

Author Biography

Wendy Kean

Wendy served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1980 - 1985 and 2001-2020, first as a radio-teletype operator in the Primary Reserve and later as a chaplailn.  She has a MA in Theology (Ethics) and has taught at the Royal Canadian Chaplain School and Centre.





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