Human Rights Commissioner: Red Hand Day is a day of solidarity by children for children

12.02.2013 - Press release

Red Hand Day is an international day of protest against the use of child soldiers. Held every year on 12 February, it draws attention to the entry into force on 12 February 2002 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Speaking today in connection with Red Hand Day, 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 also 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 is 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.”


On 12 February 2002 the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force. The Protocol stipulated that young people under the age of eighteen may not be compulsorily recruited into a country’s armed forces. Germany ratified the Optional Protocol on 13 December 2004.

The idea of Red Hand Day originated in Germany. The red hand symbol was adopted by an international alliance of NGOs known as the “Coalition to stop the use of child soldiers”.

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