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Students hold Red Hand Day to protest against child soldiers

More than 50 FGCU students painted their hands red Friday, Feb. 12 in an effort to draw attention to the children who are forced into combat in wars around the world.

The FGCU chapter of Amnesty International, a nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights internationally, held Red Hand Day 2016 on campus.

RHD is an annual commemoration day where several organizations in the world advocate against the use of child soldiers. The red paint signifies the bloodshed.

“I think a lot of us here aren’t aware of the issues that are going on or haven’t really been exposed to that,” said Sissi Jensen, a freshman political science major and a member of Amnesty International on campus. “Just talking about it is very important.”

Jensen, who ran the Red Hand Day event, said a lot of the participants were exposed to the issue for the first time during the event.  

“A lot of them said, ‘what do you mean child soldiers?’” Jensen said. “What is that?’ So, being able to have conversations with them, you kind of open their eyes. And even myself, I wasn’t aware about the issue before I joined Amnesty International.”

The RSO tabled on the Library Lawn from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provided paint and paper to anyone who wished to participate. Students stamped their hand and wrote their name above the handprint. All handprints will be hung in a banner on campus.

Members of the FGCU chapter of Amnesty International, a nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights internationally, and volunteers stand in the Library Lawn, where Hand Day 2016 was held on campus. (EN Photo / Jimena Tavel)

Members of the FGCU chapter of Amnesty International, a nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights internationally, and volunteers stand in the Library Lawn, where Hand Day 2016 was held on campus. (EN Photo / Jimena Tavel)

“That’s really an issue occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa, throughout the Middle East currently with ISIS and everything else going on,” Jensen said.

Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, who sparked the human rights revolution. Its action plan would go on to extend to human rights across the globe.

Jensen said the chapter on campus, as of right now, has seven consistent members, and they are looking for more people to help protect human rights.

“At the end of the day, even if it’s just 50 people advocating, that really makes a difference,” Jensen said.

About The Author

Jimena Tavel

Jimena Tavel is an international student from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She's a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and communication, and a minor in French. Jimena is the news editor for Eagle News, and aspires to become a news anchor someday. Along with her passion for news, she also has a passion for good humor. She spends most of her spare time reading novels, trying new foods and training for her first marathon. If you ever plan a trip to Honduras, you should definitely get in touch with her! She recommends exploring her favorite island in the world - Roatán, and all that it has to offer.

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