Didier Burkhalter takes part in the filming of a documentary on child soldiers

Article, 24.08.2016

Bern, 24 August 2016 – The head of the FDFA takes part in the filming of a documentary on child soldiers. Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to the protection of children recruited into armed groups in conflicts.

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Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter talking on Tuesday 23 August in Geneva with Ibrahim Koroma (left) and Julienne Baroni, two former child soldiers, after filming. © FDFA

Didier Burkhalter took part in the filming of the documentary 'Away from the guns. The hope of a child soldier' on Tuesday in Geneva. The film sheds light on the reality of child soldiers torn from their families and recruited at a young age into armed forces or groups. It also shows the way possible for these children to escape from that and return to normal life after experiencing the horrors of war. Made by a Swiss production company, the film will be broadcast on television next February. 

After filming, the head of the FDFA met with former child soldiers and war victims. He was able to talk in particular with Ibrahim Koroma and Julienne Baroni. Now aged 33 and living in Switzerland for 12 years, Ibrahim was a child soldier in Sierra Leone, before managing to escape to Europe. Julienne was a child soldier during the genocide in Rwanda and has lost most of her family. She is now in her thirties and lives in Switzerland. 

The head of the FDFA was invited to speak about Switzerland's commitment in regard to this issue. Approximately 250,000 children under 18 are now recruited in or associated with armed forces or groups. Since 2014 Switzerland has set out an action plan to strengthen its impact on and commitment to the protection of children associated with armed forces or groups in armed conflict. Particular emphasis is placed on stronger measures to prevent recruitment and on the reintegration of children to offer them future prospects of hope, far from war.