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The World - Special Dates - Red Hands Day
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Red Hands Day external link, February 12

Podcast: "In the Mind of a Child Soldier" external link, from Podcast All in the Mind (Australia). Now you can only read the transcript, but it you subscribe (for free), you can listen to it too.

"I would like you to give a message. Please do your best to tell the world what is happening to us, the children. So that other children don't have to pass through this violence."

Excerpt from Amnesty International's article Child soldiers: A global issue external link

As armed conflict proliferates around the world, increasing numbers of children are exposed to the brutalities of war. In numerous countries, boys and girls are recruited as child soldiers by armed forces and groups, either forcibly or voluntarily. Children are susceptible to recruitment by manipulation or may be driven to join armed forces and groups because of poverty or discrimination. Often they are abducted at school, on the streets or at home. Once recruited or forced into service, they are used for a variety of purposes. While many children participate in combat, others are used for sexual purposes, as spies, messengers, porters, servants or to lay or clear landmines. Many children serve multiple roles.

Excerpt from Coalition to STOP the use of child soldiers (some facts external link)

In 2006 the UN estimates that more than 250,000 children are actively involved in armed conflict in government armed forces, government militias and in a range of armed opposition groups.

The problem is most critical in Africa, where up to 100,000 children, some as young as nine, were estimated to be involved in armed conflict in mid 2004. Children are also used as soldiers in various Asian countries and in parts of Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

More: Frequently Asked Questions external link and Voices of young soldiers external link

Red Hands Day, February 12 external link
Red Hand Day 2002 New Zealand

New Zealand student members of Amnesty International at Parliament to celebrate the Child Soldiers Treaty coming into force on 12 February 2002