The Red Hand Campaign

Your Red Hand makes the protest visible – worldwide!

Don’t let children die for you - THEY are the future! (Rahel Fuchs, Schleiz, Germany). Colourful protest: Adolescents’ and adults’ demands are sent to politicians. Photo: Aktion Weißes Friedenband

According to an additional protocol from the UN Convention of Children Rights the misuse of child soldiers has been illegal since 12 February 2002. Unfortunately, the number of child soldiers has hardly changed since then. There are still about 250,000 children which are used in wars.

 

In order to protest against this plight hundreds and thousands of red hand prints have been collected in over 50 countries worldwide. And this campaign is still proceeding. We appeal to adults and especially to children and adolescents to collect prints of red hands: for example in schools, at city festivals, in pedestrian areas.

 

Hand them over or send them to the mayor, to the member of the local, regional or national parliament or the European Parliament of your electoral ward with the request to advocate the demands mentioned below and to be politically active. It is important that the representatives will inform you within a short period of time about their actions. You can also involve music singers or other celebrities and the media in your Red Hand activity to spread the protest and the demands of the campaign.

 

We demand:

    1.    "Straight 18": No child under the age of 18 may be deployed or trained for use in armies, armed groups or other military organizations - irrespective of for which function (including unarmed functions!) and irrespective of whether this is on a "voluntary" or non-voluntary basis. No person under the age of 18 may be recruited to an army or armed group, and no promotion for recruitment may be directed to minors. All children under the age of 18 must be released from military service or from serving in an armed group and should receive respective assistance upon their return to civilian life.

    2.    Punishment of the responsible parties: All persons, states and armed groups that recruit children must be publicly named and appropriately punished. These persons must be charged before the International Criminal Court or national courts. The respective states and armed groups must be publicly convicted (e.g. by the UN Security Council) and subjected to sanctions (economic consequences, travel bans, frozen accounts).

    3.    Protection, assistance and political asylum: Former child soldiers need to be provided with medical and psychological assistance, protection from being re-recruited, school education and vocational training - especially when they are refugees in an industrialized country. Former child soldiers must be granted protection and political asylum in all countries to which they flee.

    4.    More funds for child soldiers aid programs:  State and international funding for prevention and child soldier reintegration programs must be considerably increased. In a lot of countries where child soldiers are deployed, there are no funds available for supporting such programs.

    5.    Ban on arms exports: It is no longer allowed to export weapons (especially small arms), weapon components and ammunition to crisis regions where child soldiers are being deployed. Illegal routes through which weapons reach crisis-hit countries must also be closed down: There must be a ban on the granting of arms production licenses as well as a ban on exporting weapons to third countries that proceed to pass these weapons on to other crisis regions.

    6.    Promote peace education: Peace education and non-violent conflict resolution should be an obligatory part of the school curriculum and teacher-training.

        

      Please inform us about your actions, about the number of collected hands and the politician's reactions. We want to make the international protest visible. Load up a short report and a photo of your Red Hand activity (here) and send us an email to a.hachmann@tdh.de