October 12, 2012
No child soldiers: more steps on the journey
As representatives of the Member States gathered for the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, several important events took place in the effort to create a world where children are children not soldiers:
- On 19 September 2012, the Security Council demanded that "parties to armed conflict which commit grave abuses against children, including those who recruit and use children, kill and maim, commit sexual violence or attack schools and hospitals, immediately halt such practices and take special measures to protect children."
- Indonesia, Nigeria, and Swaziland announced that they have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Children in Situations of Armed Conflict. Ratification is the ask of the Red Hands Campaign. Each of these countries has received Red Hands from Presbyterians and others. This brings to 17 the number of member states that have ratified the treaty since Presbyterians began to participate in the Red Hands Campaign.
- On 4 October 2012, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo "signed an Action Plan to end the recruitment of children associated with the Congolese armed forces and security services."
Each of these actions represents an important step on the journey to the day when children no longer are used as soldiers. Step by step the longest journey can be made.
Thanks be to God for all who are part of this effort.