Children and Conflict Children and Conflict  (AFP or licensors)

12 February: World against the continued use of child soldiers in conflicts.

The world is marking 12 February as Red Hand Day. On this day, the international community makes special effort to raise awareness about children recruited for armed conflict.

Vatican News.

Pope Francis has called the recruitment of children to fight in the world’s conflicts, a scandal.

"Whoever you are, if you are moved as I am, I ask you to join me in this prayer intention: that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over," Pope Francis said when he dedicated the whole month of December 2016 to praying for end to child soldiers.

Ending violence against children

According to The Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children, tens of thousands of children are at risk of being recruited into armed conflict each year, including by force and manipulation. They are deprived of rights and liberty and are faced with extreme threats of violence and abuse, including sexual violence, killing and maiming, and abduction.

“The recruitment and use of children by parties to conflict remains one of the highest verified violations against children. According to the Annual Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to the UN General Assembly, in 2021, more than 6,310 children (5,707 boys, 603 girls) were recruited and used by parties to conflict. And this number is expected to have climbed higher in the face of escalating and new crises since,” the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children said.

Children and conflict
Children and conflict

Some good news

Late last year, Burkina Faso and Nigeria agreed to end military detention of children involved with armed groups and to support reintegrating these children into society.

The Global Partnership is urging the international community and advocates to build on promising developments to collectively call for ending recruitment of children into conflict and support those who have been subjected to it in every country.

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12 February 2023, 13:46