Students, Teachers, Parents: Help End the Use of Child Soldiers

Red Hand Campaign

Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 17 countries around the world. Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence. A UN treaty prohibits the participation of children under the age of 18 in hostilities. But too often, it is not enforced.

Join the Red Hand Day Campaign to urge the United Nations to take stronger action to end the use of child soldiers.

The aim of the Red Hand Day campaign is to gather one million “red hands”—the symbol of the global campaign against the use of child soldiers—and present them to UN officials in New York on February 12, 2009, the anniversary of the day the treaty banning the use of child soldiers took effect.

Participating in the campaign is easy

1) Use red paint to make a handprint on a sheet of paper, and add a personal message about your desire to end the use of child soldiers; organize others at your school or in your community to do the same;

2) Upload photos or videos of your event to;

3) Send your red hands by February 2009 to Human Rights Watch, 350 5th Ave, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10118

For more information, including ideas for local events, fact sheets, and additional background on child soldiers, see this resource pack. [Download Resource Pack]

Watch the Human Rights Watch Public Service Announcement on child soldiers that aired during the season premier of the Fox TV show "24" -- twelve million Americans have already seen it!

© 2003 Marcus Bleasdale

Photos (from top):

On 12 February 2008, hundreds of children in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo participate in the launch of the Red Hand Day Campaign. © 2008 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Students at Wildwood School covered the school’s hallways with red hands and facts about child soldiers. Education was a key element of their activities as all 9th – 12th graders made red hands and listened to child soldiers testimonies. © 2008 Maya Myers/ HRW Student Task Force

Students at Venice High School in California, USA made 531 red hands and signed
large red hands to send to the office of their congressional representative.
© 2008 Maya Myers/  HRW Student Task Force

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