For Individuals

<1> In order to be more acquainted with what you can do with child soldier issue,  spend only a few minutes finishing a webquest in United Nations Cyberschoolbus page. In this quest, you can play the role as children and parents, human right activists, criminal court judges, mental health professionals, finance and trade advisors and military advisors. Consequently, this division or choice can make you more focus on the fields you specialize in, taking a professional action.

<2>  The United Nations has put into force Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in February 2002. However there are still 23 states having signed but not yet ratified this protocol in the tenth year after it is enacted1. If you live in one of the 23 countries (list can be checked through country status page), you can write a letter or send an email to lobby your community leaders to put this issue into agenda. Or to be more practical, you can join a group to prevent children from being recruited or exploited in conflict.

<3> Take part in the activities held in Red Hand Day, which falls on February 12 each year. It is established to commemorate the date when the U.N. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict came into force2. For instance, in 2009 Red Hand Campaign children and teenagers collect as many red hand-prints as possible to present to United Nations in New York which arouse people’s attention including Ban Ki-moon to make a determination to stamp out such abuse3.  Another example is in Belgium, red hands were presented to Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht at a special event at the Palais des Académies in2. You can participate in these activities with your children or parents in order to arouse people’s concern about child recruitment as well as child soldier.

<4> Use the power of the Internet to spread the child soldier issue. Taking YouTube as an example, you can watch as many videos regarding child soldier as possible. When you do this, the view count will increase, attracting more and more people to watch the videos.

We have created a web in Facebook and Twitter, and name of our two home pages are the same —“Child Soldier Crisis”. All you need to do is to follow us and share the latest news or actions about child soldier.

You can also add your comments or share your stories  in our Forum!

<5> Take part in other existing initiatives:

1. WarChild

War Child is an NGO located in United Kingdom. It was founded by British filmmakers Bill Leeson and David Wilson. The NGO has been organizing various activities such as music therapy programs and has been trying to create awareness for making possible a better life for child soldiers. They are currently active in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Uganda, and the UK.

2. War Child International

War Child International is a group of independent humanitarian groups which have been seeking ways how to help children and young people exposed in armed conflict. The initiative is also active in Australia, Canada, Holland, Ireland, UK, and US. It is possible to get involved with this initiative by donating online.

3. Peace Direct

One of the main motto of ‘Peace Direct’ is to work hand in hand with local people to find solutions for people exposed in armed conflict. The initiative believes that local people are key factors to break the vicious cycle and secure a better future for their future. If you want to get involved with the initiative, you can make donation monthly or make a single gift. The initiative is currently active in the countries such as Burundi, DR Congo (N Kivu), DR Congo (S Kivu), Kashmir, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan & South Sudan, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

4. SOS Children’s Village

SOS Children’s village is an independent NGO that has been giving support children who have been abandoned or orphaned  by providing educational, familial, medical, and outreach programs. They are active in 500 villages in 133 countries and they have impact on over 1 million people’s lives each year. You can get involved with the NGO by making donation, sending e-card, being a sponsor a child or village, or being volunteer for the NGO’s long-term projects for orphaned and abandoned children.

5. Child Soldiers International

Child Soldiers International is an international human rights research and advocacy organization. The main aim of the organization is to prevent children’s participation in armed conflict. The organization is currently active in countries such as Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Thailand, and United Kingdom. It is possible to get involved with the organization by making donations. Donations are mainly used in independent research, national and international campaigns.

6. Amnesty International

Amnesty International has been organizing campaigns for preventing human rights abuses. Also, the organization has been supporting people who are standing against injustice all over the world. They are currently active in more than 150 countries. It is possible to get involved with the organization by attending events, being a volunteer, writing for rights and making donations.

7. Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an independent organization which has been aimed to protect human rights and prevent violations all over the world. One of the goals of the organization is to be the voice of oppressed groups. The organization has also arranged with governments and regional-international groups such as the African Union and the European Union by giving policy recommendations to secure human rights and justice. You can get involved with the organization by making donations and taking action in the organization’s events such as helping protect domestic workers and promoting maternal health.

8. Child Soldier Relief

Child Soldier Relief Foundation has been doing various attempts such as connecting organizations, creating multimedia, and doing research to prevent children exploitation in armed groups. It is possible to get involved with the initiative by making donations and being volunteer with the projects such as doing research, looking for grants, or supporting the initiative’s ‘Mandala House Film Project’.

We appreciate your effort in joining us in the fight against child recruitment.

We deeply believe once we stand together hand in hand, and shoulder by shoulder, the issue of child soldiers will no longer exist in our foreseeable future.

See also For Policy Makers

 Footnotes:

1 Wikipedia. (2011, December 14). Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optional_Protocol_to_the_Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child_on_the_Involvement of_Children_in_Armed_Conflict

2 Morse, J., & Writer, S. (2009, Februart 18). Youth worldwide join in call to stop use of child soldiers. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from America. gov: http://www.america.gov/st/democracyhr-english/2009/February/20090218133339ajesrom0.5250055.html

3 Shatz, S. (2009, February 13). UN secretary-general pledges to “stamp out” use of child soldiers. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/02/13/un-secretary-general-pledges-stamp-out-use-child-soldiers

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