Lend a red hand to child soldiers

Get caught red-handed Thursday, Feb. 12, by showing advocacy for child soldiers. “Red Hand Day” is an annual day traditionally held around the globe. The day is designed to raise awareness for children who are forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts.
Amnesty International is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting human rights. Amnesty International devotees work to prevent human-rights violations from occurring and demand justice for those that do occur. The Florida Gulf Coast University chapter of Amnesty International will be holding this year’s Red Hand Day on campus.
FGCU Amnesty International will have a table on the Library Lawn from noon to 5 p.m.  Anyone can stamp his or her hand with red paint on a paper and personalize it with his or her name or a message. These handprints will be sent to government officials urging them to influence the end of this issue.
Lucy Leban, senior political science major and president of the chapter of FGCU Amnesty International, believes in the importance of Red Hand Day. “The current international treaties aren’t working and the laws are not enough,” Leban said. “We need to petition our government to address this issue now.
“The use of child soldiers in armed conflicts is an incredibly pressing issue but also one that not many people in Southwest Florida are familiar with,” Leban said. “We want to raise awareness and let people know what they can do to help.”
Diana Ahmed, a senior majoring in political science and communication, is the secretary for Amnesty International and is familiar with the history of Red Hand Day.
“The event first started in Germany in 2002, encouraging people to speak with their political leaders in emails, letters, and phone calls to urge them to get countries to sign the Convention on the Rights on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and vow not to involve children in warfare.” Ahmed said.
“There are still currently about 250,000 child soldiers in the world, and they do not have voices of their own,” Ahmed said. “We must be their voices and take a stand against the trafficking of child soldiers.”
Anybody who is interested in getting involved with Amnesty International can email [email protected], or search FGCU Amnesty International on Facebook.
“Everybody is welcome to attend our meetings every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Merwin 110,” Leban said.