Red Hands make a difference

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)

Red Hands being madeWe moved another step closer a world where children are children and not soldiers today. Presbyterian Red Hands helped make it happen!

Saint Lucia signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Children and Armed Conflict.

Saint Lucia received Red Hands from Presbyterians asking them to sign and ratify the Prototocol. Signing takes the crucial first step; Saint Lucia still needs to ratify the treaty. Hopefully that will come soon.

Signing – and ratifying – the Protocol does not automatically lead to an end to the use of children in armed conflicts. It does establish an international consensus – a consensus that is growing. To date:

142 States have ratified the Protocol

24 States have signed but not yet ratified

27 States have neither signed nor ratified

Red Hands from Presbyterians and others have gone to all of the States that have not ratified.

Since Presbyterians took on the Red Hand Campaign, 11 States have ratified and 4 States have signed.

Keep those Red Hands coming!

About the Protocol

UNICEF describes the Protocol in this terms:

The Protocol requires States who ratify it to “take all feasible measures” to ensure that members of their armed forces under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities.  States must also raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces from 15 years but does not require a minimum age of 18. The Protocol does, however, remind States that children under 18 are entitled to special protection and so any voluntary recruitment under the age of 18 must include sufficient safeguards. It further bans compulsory recruitment below the age of 18. States parties must also take legal measures to prohibit independent armed groups from recruiting and using children under the age of 18 in conflicts.

Find resources to participate in the Red Hand Campaign from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, the Office of Child Advocacy, and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

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