February 12th: Red Hand Day. Soldier boys and girls are fighting in more than 14 countries all over the world. They are forced, exploited, treated with inexplicable violence.
Despite under age boys and girls were forbidden to participate in combats by the United Nations, still too often nowadays, boys and girls are recruited for that purpose. The figure could be around 250.000, according to information provided by this organisation.
Since 2002, on February 12th, the situation affecting these boys and girls is remembered through public protests, demonstrations and other events in which associations all over the world show their reject against these children recruitment to perform as soldiers.
This year, Red Hand Day campaign is pressing to get the universal confirmation of the treaty forbidding the use of boys and girls as soldiers. The treaty is known as Optional Protocol of Children Rights Convention. Since it was agreed ten years ago, 131 governments have confirmed it.
Nevertheless, there are still 61 countries that have not signed the optional protocol. The goal this year is to achieve these countries to confirm it as well as to get them absolutely involved on stopping the use of kids as soldiers. This is the main target in 2010 and there are different initiatives to get it.
Photo: Human Right Watch
Fundació Roger Torné is an organization created in order to improve social disadvantaged children’s quality of life. Therefore, we must support this kind of activities. Besides, our Cooperation Program includes a shelter house in Butembo (R.D. Congo), where fifteen street boys, some of them suffering from the problems detailed above, are sheltered each year. That is why we could not let this day go by without inviting you to ask yourself “What can I do myself?” Some ideas…