Red Hand Day – day of action against the use of child soldiers

Every year on 12 February people all over the world protest against the use of child soldiers. Red Hand Day, as it is known, recalls the entry into force on 12 February 2002 of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Two years later the first Red Hand Day was staged – the red hand as a symbolic “no” to the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The use of child soldiers continues, however, in many countries around the world where armed conflicts are taking place.

Speaking on Red Hand Day 2013, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning made the following comments:

“In situations of armed conflict it’s the children who suffer most: from death, hunger, injuries or recruitment as child soldiers, from attacks on their homes and schools or the loss of their loved ones. We’re pushing for children’s rights to be protected and we’re also campaigning against the recruitment of child soldiers. Another thing we’re doing is helping child soldiers return to a normal life, a life that allows them to be children again. This means enabling them to go to school, for example, and learn an occupation. I’m very pleased to see here a number of encouraging developments such as the demobilization of child soldiers now under way in Myanmar. Red Hand Day is not just a day when countries and governments express solidarity and campaign against the use of child soldiers. It’s also a day when children show solidarity towards other children. I’d like to thank everyone taking part in this day of action very much indeed for setting such a splendid example of human rights advocacy.”

What Germany is doing to safeguard children’s rights and stop the use of child soldiers

Germany ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2004 and has been working hard to ensure its implementation.

The idea of Red Hand Day originated in Germany and has now spread all over the world. For more on Red Hand Day activities go towww.redhandday.org

More on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s rights in the United Nations system

Last updated 12.02.2013

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