Red Hand Day for Child Soldiers is an annual commemoration drawing attention to the plight of children forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts. The Red Hand symbol has been used all over the world by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and many civil society organisations to say no to the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The Day was initiated in 2002 when the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict came into force on 12 February. Since then, the number of child soldiers has hardly changed - there are still 250,000 children used in wars as soldiers. 12 February has become a day for national and regional coalitions, NGOs, individuals and interested parties to hold events to highlight the issue of child soldiers. For more information, including details of awareness-raising campaigns, visit: Red Hand Day and Child Soldiers International.
An interesting point for discussion in class: Child Soldiers International advocate that 18 should be the minimum age for military recruitment of any kind. Do your students think it right that one in four new British Army recruits is aged 16 or 17? To find relevant teaching resources in our database, browse through the resources listed under the topic of 'child soldiers'.