Red Hand Day 2021 Date, History and Significance: Everything to Know About International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers

Kabir
·3-min read

Red Hand Day is observed on February 12 every year. Also called the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, Red Hand Day 2021 will be celebrated this week. It is a campaign launched to stop the recruitment of children and adolescents under the age of 18 for armed conflicts. This day is used as an opportunity to raise awareness at the global level about the condition of children being forced to work as soldiers. Here’s everything you need to know about the Red Hand Day celebration, Red Hand Day 2021 date and more.

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Red Hand Day 2021 Date

Red Hand Day 2021 will be celebrated on February 12, like every other year. This celebration is extremely important as the future of our society depends on it. Young minds are considered to be more feasible malleable, which is what motivates various organisations to recruit young children as their soldiers. However, various activists and organisations are striving to put an end to this practice.

Red Hand Day History and Significance

An Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC) was adopted by the United Nations general assembly on May 25, 2000. This protocol meant prohibition of recruitment and participation of children in armed conflicts. According to a report in 2018, the number of children involved in armed conflict has more than doubled in the time period 2012-2017. Child soldiers don't only exist in the conflict zones/regions but also otherwise. This is still a persistent phenomenon that needs to be combated. This is the reason that Red Hand Day celebrations were started as a way of increasing awareness on the need to identify, protect and counsel these children into the right path.

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The principles of child protection may have been made clear internationally by The Paris Principles in 2007 and The Vancouver Principles in 2015. But cold soldiers fall under the National framework, and hence we see an inconsistent application of the principles to protect them. The principles may be formalized, but the terrorist and violent groups aren't. These become a bigger challenge in the protection of the child. In addition to this, there are various scenarios that force children to also volunteer as soldiers, whether it is the need for money, societal pressures or the sheer environment of their upbringing. Red Hand Day aims to tackle these issues by helping children with access to school and education and discouraging their involvement in rebel groups, militant armies or in some cases, even the military.

Children really hold the key to a better, more empathetic and loving future. We hope that this Red Hand Day, we inch closer to making sure the innocence of a child is not lost to violence, merely because of the lack of resources to teach them to be better. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Red Hand Day.