Sophie Beal and Elodie de Bethmann are summer volunteer interns at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. This is their first week with us, their first blog with us, and their first time getting involved with Red Hands. Below is the blog from Sophie and Elodie.
More photos are available on our Facebook Page.
The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations has taken on two new volunteer interns for the summer. We are both excited to have this incredible opportunity to experience the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Mission Council at the United Nations and wanted to use this space to briefly introduce ourselves and update you on what we have been doing thus far.
Elodie de Bethmann is from New York City and is a rising sophomore at Wellesley College. Over the past few years Elodie has become interested in the study of peace and justice with a particular interest in human trafficking. Elodie is excited to have the opportunity to become actively involved in global issues through her work with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.
Sophie is a senior at Mount Holyoke College and is a religious studies major with a minor in journalism, media and public discourse. Sophie is from Cleveland, Ohio and has grown up in the Presbyterian Church. She has a strong commitment to social justice and human rights with a particular interest in issues of fair labor both domestically and internationally.
Thus far in our work at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, we have been working with the Red Hands Campaign. The Red Hands Campaign calls to put an end to the global use of child soldiers and is a project of the PC(USA) Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Office of Child Advocacy. While over 300,000 children continue to be involved in armed conflict today, there are still 46 Member States who have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement children in armed conflict. The ultimate goal is for every country to sign and ratify this treaty. The campaign hopes to achieve its purpose by continually inviting individuals to say “NO” to the use of child soldiers and by sending thousands of red hands to world leaders whose countries have not yet fulfilled the goal of signing and/or ratifying the treaty.
On Monday, June 4th, we sent letters to 41 of the Member States who have not yet signed or ratified the Optional Protocol. In addition to letters asking these states to join the effort to stop the use and abuse of child soldiers, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations also enclosed the red hands we have received from church communities across the nation who have responded to our call. Over the course of the campaign, we have received over 300,000 red hands—each uniquely decorated with a personal message from both children and adults imploring these states to have compassion for children all over the world and to keep them away from the traumatic and devastating atrocities of war. It was deeply moving to see the incredible response of the Presbyterian community to this important issue. It is because of our community’s spirited engagement in this campaign that we are able to send a clear message to those in power that the use of child soldiers must end. Each red hand has made a difference and brings us closer to putting an end to this global injustice.