Child Soldier Relief

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The mission of Child Soldier Relief Foundation (CSR), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code, is to advocate on behalf of child soldiers by serving as a central repository of information on all topics relating to the topic of child soldiers.

Red Hand Day 2009 is here!

Today is Red Hand Day 2009. The goal, set out 12 months ago, was to send one million ‘red hands’ to the United Nations Headquarters in New York by February 12 – to act as a global petition against the continuing and abusive use of children in global warfare.  Red Hand Day commemorates the anniversary of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which took effect on February 12th 2002.  

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According to The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and Human Rights Watch (HRW), there are currently an astounding 250,000 red hands coming from over 101 countries – a number that is rapidly rising with an influx of red hands still anticipated with events being held worldwide today. 

Check out a database of Red Hand Day activities here.

Ajay Mittal, administrator of a Facebook group supporting Red Hand Day, contributed to this posting.

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Filed under: Educational, Human Rights, United Nations, , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Child Soldier Coalition makes fist against ‘red hands’ campaign

    Freetown, 12 February 2009

    This week, there is a lot of noise about child soldiering in the international media. The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has declared this day as ‘red hands day’. A formal protest against the use of child soldiers worldwide. With the red hand campaign, the coalition campaigned for 1 million signatures, to present to UN politicians in New York on 12 February 2009. The collective aim of this global campaign is to impress the responsible persons in New York with the huge numbers of red hands and so force them to act.

    The Child Soldier Coalition wants to make use of this opportunity to call for the attention of the same UN politicians and inform them about our discontent about institutions and organizations campaigning on our behalf. We wish to inform the UN that former child soldiers in Sierra Leone do NOT support the red hand campaign, and the institutions and organizations behind it.

    The Child Soldier Coalition urges UN politicians to take action against the devastating campaigns of individuals and institutions like The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Former child soldiers in Sierra Leone want the world to stop shouting, and start listening. The vast majority of former child soldiers are not traumatized, we don’t end up in cycles of violence, and we certainly did not turn into ‘killing machines’.

    Former child soldiers in Sierra Leone reintegrated mostly without any help, despite the efforts of the UN, right after the ending of the war. Many former child soldiers did not receive any help. Some of us were afraid for prosecution. Some of us were simply too late to apply, and yet some of us were duped by our leaders who received the aid in our names. Some of us were part of malfunctioning initiatives and programmes. And many children who reported themselves with a gun, for the reintegration programmes, never fought one single day in their lives.

    Many of us had to reintegrate from our own efforts. We worked very hard to become part of our communities. And today, six to eight years after our demobilization, we still struggle for full acceptance. Campaigns by western institutions stigmatize us, since the international news and western viewpoints reach our own communities, and some people like to believe the blatant lies western institutions spread about us.

    We invite the UN politicians and representative UN workers to visit us in Sierra Leone and see the reality. We have turned into hardworking young adults, craving to be part of society. Most of us don’t have psychological trauma’s. We have a social trauma. We don’t have work. We don’t have the means to follow education. And most of us don’t have regular access to food. That is our situation.

    Of course we support efforts to stop the use of child soldiers. We were misused and misled, and we want other children to be protected against this faith. We do however ask the UN, and interested westerners to approach our ‘issue’ with respect and with the wish to uncover truths, instead of covering the truth up with lies. Different countries, different cultures. Trauma is predominant in the west. The struggle for survival is predominant in Africa. Especially in war-torn countries like Sierra Leone. We need actual aid. We need actual concern.

    Source: http://www.childsoldiercoalition.org

  2. childsoldierrelief says:

    Thank you for your input. ChildSoldierRelief operates as a clearinghouse of information, information from many different people and sources relating to child soldier issues. We welcome all constructive dialogue and hope that through this dialogue and the dissemination of information the public can be better informed about the effect of war on children.

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