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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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Posts with tag: child soldiers

September 29, 2014

Hudson River Presbytery says "children should carry toys!"

At the Hudson River Presbytery's "Changing the Conversation Conference", participants traced our hands to raise awareness and send the message that it's not okay to use children under the age of 18 for soldiers. In doing so, the participants joined other Presbyterians who support the Red Hand Campaign that calls for universal ratification and enforcement of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Follow Presbyterian efforts to end the use of child soldiers. Like the Presbyterians Say No Child Soldiers Facebook page. Learn more about ...

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February 24, 2014

Red Hands continue to make a difference: two more member states ratify

On January 15, 2014, St. Lucia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Estonia ratified on February 12, 2014 It is a great start to 2014, as we move forward in raising awareness internationally to protect children from being exploited as soldiers.

This raises to 28 the number of United Nations member states that have ratified the Optional Protocol since Presbyterians became involved in the Red Hands Campaign. There are still 39 United Nations member states left to ratify.

Every effort counts. Keep your Red Hands ...

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January 8, 2014

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January is human trafficking awareness month and January 11 is human trafficking awareness day. The year 2014 marks the 151th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln, upon signing the Emancipation Proclamation said, “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper.” Because of the groundbreaking work of our ancestors, slavery was outlawed in the United States.  However the legacies of chattel slavery continue to haunt our society even as we turn to face a new form of slavery: human trafficking.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A ...

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November 20, 2013

The Growing Voice of the Red Hands

by Esther Lee

Red handsIt is our joy to announce that this year, Cameroon (4 Feb 2013) and Zimbabwe (22 May 2013) ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The momentum continues to build. Thanks to all who participated.

The Red Hands made by Presbyterians all over the country are delivered to the permanent missions at the United Nations asking them to encourage their governments to sign and ratify the protocol. Though this treaty does not guarantee absence of children in the military forces ...

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August 9, 2013

Celebrate the 2013 International Day of Peace

2013 International Day of Peace LogoThe United Nations has set September 21 as the International Day of Peace. This day provides an opportunity for  individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on  a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The focus for 2013 is Education for Peace

Here are some ways to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21 or Sunday, September 22 or at some other time:

Promote the Peacemaking Offering

Observe a Minute of Silence at Noon in your time zone

Ring your ...

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June 17, 2013

Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations, at a Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, June 17, 2013

This was originally posted by the U.S. State Department.

Thank you, Mr. President, for hosting today’s debate on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC). And thank you, Under-Secretary General Ladsous, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Brandt and Save the Children Associate Vice President Ramm for your remarks. We are also grateful to Ambassador Lucas for her leadership as Chair of the Security Council Working Group and deeply appreciate the devoted work of Special Representative Leila Zerrougi and her team to advance this agenda. And I thank her for her briefing this morning as well.

The United States remains determined to ...

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January 15, 2013

Children are children, not soldiers - 11 years on

‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ – Matthew 19:14

February 12, 2013 marks the eleventh anniversary of the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.

Find worship resources, ideas for participating in the Red Hand Campaign, and suggestions for further study for this occasion. Red hands being madeThey may be used at any time.

UNICEF estimates that more than 300,000 children – boys and girls under the ...

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December 2, 2012

Actions for the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

 Blue Heart

UN Resources:

PC(USA) Resources:

Prayer:

Prayer (Jer. 31:15-17 adapted)

A voice is heard in Ramah,

     lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

     she refuses to be comforted for her children,

     because they are no more.

But God, you say to us:

Keep your voice from weeping,

     and your eyes from tears;

     for there is a reward for your work.

God, as you have promised, so we pray,

     that exiles shall come ...

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November 13, 2012

Some ideas for action: World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

World Day of Prayer and Action logoWork to end the use of children as soldiers
The Red Hand Campaign calls for universal ratification and enforcement of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The goal is for every country in the world to ratify the optional protocol by 2012, the tenth anniversary of treaty.

Call President Obama to send the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the Senate for advise and consent
The United States has signed, but not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The U ...

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October 12, 2012

No child soldiers: more steps on the journey

Red Hands from West Virginia PresbyteryAs 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:

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July 13, 2012

UN Secretary-General issues 11th annual report on children in armed conflict

From Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict a network of international nongovernmental organizations that strives to protect children in war zones:

The 11th Annual Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict, issued on Monday 11 June, 2012, provides an overview of the situation of children affected by armed conflict and the measures taken to protect them. It covers the period between January and December 2011, and contains specific recommendations for follow-up UN action. The body of the report contains information on grave violations committed against children, in particular the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, the abduction of children, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children by parties to conflict.

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June 11, 2012

Covenant Presbyterian Church holds seminar on child soldiers

By Sophie Beal

Today the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations was pleased to host Covenant Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, California for a seminar that covered the current global situation concerning the use of child soldiers in armed conflict and efforts made by the United Nations and others to stop this practice.

Participants in the Covenant Presbyterian Church seminar make red hands

To begin the day, Elodie and I asked the group members to draw a picture of a world in which children do not serve as child soldiers. The responses were wonderfully diverse and provoked a thoughtful discussion about what the lives of child soldiers might be like ...

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June 6, 2012

Summer volunteers work on Red Hands

 

Sophie Beal and Elodie de Bethmann are summer volunteer interns at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.  This is their first week with us, their first blog with us, and their first time getting involved with Red Hands.  Below is the blog from Sophie and Elodie.

More photos are available on our Facebook Page.


The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations has taken on two new volunteer interns for the summer. We are both excited to have this incredible opportunity to experience the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Mission Council at the United Nations ...

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May 23, 2012

Red Hands continue their work

We just learned that in the past two months, Cote d'Ivoire, Malaysia, and Niger have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict.

The international consensus that children are children and not soldiers continues to grow.

Thanks be to all who have made Red Hands.
Thanks be to God!

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March 14, 2012

First ICC verdict addresses exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced its first verdict today. The court found Thomas Lubanga Dyilo guilty of conscripting, enlisting, and actively using children under the age of 15 in hostilities in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2002 and 2003. Lubanga was one of the leaders of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a rebel group implicated in serious human rights abuses, including ethnic massacres, torture, rape, and the recruitment of children, some as young as seven. Congolese authorities transferred Lubanga to the ICC's custody in March 2006. His trial began in January ...

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March 13, 2012

South Sudan’s army signs pact with UN to release all children in its ranks

The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army of South Sudan (SPLA) today signed an agreement with the United Nations renewing its commitment to release all children within its ranks.

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March 12, 2012

Kony 2012 and children in armed conflict

by Jessica Hawkinson

Millions of viewers have tuned in to the KONY2012 video and campaign, recently released by the organization Invisible Children. The campaign encourages public support for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who is wanted for trial by the International Criminal Court. Kony is charged for, among other things, the widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers. The campaign also seeks to build support for the disarmament of the LRA and rehabilitation of these child soldiers.

For all of the support the campaign has gained, many key stakeholders have raised ...

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December 8, 2011

How to make Red Hands

Red hand being made with paintThe Red Hand Campaign asks nation states to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and make clear their commitment to ending the use of child soldiers.  The goal is for every country in the world to ratify the optional protocol by 2012, the tenth anniversary of when it took effect.

To take part in the Red Hand Campaign:

  1. Create red hand prints on paper (using finger paint, drawing an outline, using red paper, or in some other way) and then add their names, hometowns, and ...

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October 23, 2011

No child soldiers

Red Hands Banner

The group from the Presbytery of Geneva made Red Hands during their seminar.

They also made Red Hands before they came to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for their seminar.

This banner was made by members of First Presbyterian Church in Gowanda, New York.

Thanks to all for their witness to a world in which children are children, not soldiers!

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October 17, 2011

Presbyterian Women say "No Child Soldiers"

They brought Red Hands.

They made Red Hands.

They made plans to create Red Hands in their congregations.

Red Hands displayThe Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery of New York City gathered for their Fall Gathering on October 15 at the First Presbyterian Church in Williamsbridge.

Their varied program featured a presentation by the Rev. Kellie Anderson-Picallo on the diverse gifts God gives to us; the Rev. Lynn West on working for a world in which hunger is no more; and the Rev. Rev. Nadine Hundertmark preaching on claiming our voice and serving Jesus. I also had the chance to talk about the ...

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October 14, 2011

Children from Newark, NY say no child soldiers

Red Hands banner

The group from the Presbytery of Geneva made Red Hands during their seminar.

They also made Red Hands before they came to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for their seminar.

This banner was made by the children (ages 3 to 6) and teachers at the Roosevelt Children's Center in Newark, NY.

Thanks to all for their witness to a world in which children are children, not soldiers!

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October 14, 2011

First Presbyterian Church of Horseheads says no child soldiers

Banner with red hands and mittensThe group from the Presbytery of Geneva made Red Hands during their seminar.

They also made Red Hands before they came to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for their seminar.

The Sunday School children of the First Presbyterian Church of Horseheads made this banner. The mittens attached to the banner were made by the church's knitting club.

Thanks to all for their witness to a world in which children are children, not soldiers!

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October 14, 2011

Geneva Presbytery says "No" to child soldiers

Folks on UN TourFrom the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, they journeyed to New York City. Thirty-six in number, of many different ages, the group from the Presbytery of Geneva included a visit to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations as part of their trip. On Saturday, October 8, we met outside the United Nations.

As I came up First Avenue, I saw a group gathered at the entrance. I guessed they were Presbyterians from Geneva, but I was not sure until I saw one of them carrying a stack of Red Hands - addressing the use of children as soldiers ...

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September 22, 2011

Red Hands make a difference

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)

Red Hands being madeWe moved another step closer a world where children are children and not soldiers today. Presbyterian Red Hands helped make it happen!

Saint Lucia signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Children and Armed Conflict.

Saint Lucia received Red Hands from Presbyterians asking them to sign and ratify the Prototocol. Signing takes the crucial first step; Saint Lucia still needs to ratify the ...

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July 22, 2011

Red Hands at work

What difference do Presbyterian Red Hands make?

A display of Red Hands with the message that children are children, not soldiersThis year three states: Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Chad recently signed an action plan to end the use of children by the country’s security forces.

Clearly the international consensus that "Children are children, not soldiers" is building.

Presbyterians are playing a part. The Red Hands made by Presbyterians are delivered to permanent missions at the United Nations asking them to encourage their ...

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July 21, 2011

Red Hands say no child soldiers

Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.
Matthew 19:14

Peng Leong stuffing envelopes with Red HandsRed Hands, made by Presbyterians across the church, were sent to the permanent missions of 26 member states of the United Nations today. The Red Hands, in a variety of styles, all bear the same message: "Children are children, not soldiers."

With the Red Hands went a request that the state sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in ...

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July 2, 2011

Red Hands being made

A collection of Red HandsThere have been a number of opportunities to learn about and participate in the Red Hand Campaign to call for an end to the exploitation of children as soldiers. The Pathways program made Red Hands. The conversation on human trafficking included a segment on ending the use of child soldiers. Folks who came by the Peacemaking Booth in the exhibit hall had the opportunity to made Red Hands and take information to participate at home.

Photo by Ryan Smith.

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July 2, 2011

Say no child soldiers under Big Tent

The Peacemaking Program booth with Red Hand Campaign materialsUnder the Big Tent of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)?

There's still time to swing by the Peacemaking Booth and make a Red Hand to call for an end to the exploitation of children as soldiers.

Check out Presbyterians Say No Child Soldiers!

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June 15, 2011

The writing was on the wall

Writing on white boardActually it was on the white board.

And it was pretty cool.

Love God
Love yourself
Love others

It has been a while since the board in our conference room has seen such creativity.

A group of six high school students (one of whom has actually graduated is "still a high schooler at heart") from Medina Presbyterian Church arrived on Monday for a seminar. Immigration in the United States was the topic they selected.

We adapted the order of the seminar a bit as thye arrived. We began by talking about the situation in South Kordofan, Sudan. Ryan Smith, Presbyterian ...

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April 30, 2011

Thursday night in Queens

"You have the coolest job." That was one of the closing comments to my time at the First Presbyterian Church in Whitestone. Pastor Andy James had invited me to visit during Lent and share about the Presbyterian Ministry at the...

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April 14, 2011

Skyping the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

This evening brought a milestone on my technological journey. I had Skyped before . . . in fact there were several Skype conversations today alone. But at about 8:20 Eastern time, as had been carefully prearranged, my Skype came to...

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March 31, 2011

Red Hands in Fort Wayne

Sent from United Faith Presbyterian Church in Fort Wayne, IN to the Office of Child Advocacy (in August - we are behind but catching up!): Several weeks ago, our congregation signed "red hands" in support of the "No Child Soldiers"...

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February 15, 2011

Where did the Red Hands go?

Red Hands were recently sent to a number of missions of member states at the United Nations asking them to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed...

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February 11, 2011

Mailing Red Hands

Here's a photo album on the Presbyterians Say No Child Soldiers Facebook page taken as packets of Red Hands were assembled to send to missions at the United Nations urging them to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on...

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January 31, 2011

Children at risk - Sudan, Myanmar, Philippines, Gaza

The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict provides links to stories about children at risk in several places around the world. Singers strive for peace in new Sudan: The bumping beats of African...

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January 29, 2011

We can give that a try

They arrived from Boston at around 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning and by 9:30 a.m, they made it to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Five students, two faculty members, and an assistant from the Program for International and...

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December 30, 2010

Red Hands continue to work

Congo agrees to treaty that bans child solders; Ethiopia signs In late July 2010, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mailed drawings of red hands and messages to the Mission of Congo and the Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations as...

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November 29, 2010

UN treaties and child soldiers

"UN Treaties alone obviously won’t demobilize all the world’s child soldiers, but their main role is to put down a legal placeholder." - Michelle Chen in White House Says Child Soldiers Are Ok, If They Fight Terrorists

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November 12, 2010

Advocacy to end the use of children as soldiers

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joined other religious and human rights groups to contact President Obama last Friday expressing their disappointment with his decision last week to waive sanctions against four countries the State Department has identified as using child soldiers....

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September 7, 2010

Making Red Hands

Participants in the 2010 Presbyterian Youth Triennium made Red Hands to call for an end to the use of children as soldiers around the world. Their simple message has been delivered to a number of countries. Here's how they made...

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August 20, 2010

Red Hands at work

Georgia agrees to protocol on child soldiers In late July 2010, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mailed drawings of red hands and messages to the Mission of Georgia to the United Nations as part of its Red Hand Campaign to end...

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August 6, 2010

What happened to all those red hands?

The first batch of red hands and letters has been delivered. Over 800 red hands were created by participants in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, They had the simple message: children should be children, not soldiers. Participants wrote some 200 letters...

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July 23, 2010

Why should children not be soldiers?

This was a question posed at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Participants created red hands with answers - red hands that will be delivered to world leaders to call them to put an end to the practice of using children as...

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July 23, 2010

I pray for peace . . . Triennium Day 4

Today marked the final day in the exhibit hall at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Participants stopped by the booth of the Presbyterian United Nations Ministry, the Office on Child Advocacy, and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and added their prayers to...

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July 22, 2010

Almost two a minute

117 Red Hand cards were made today at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium - in one hour. That's almost two messages every minute to be sent to world leaders to tell them that children are children, not soldiers! Thanks to all...

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July 21, 2010

Red Hands at Triennium - Day 1

Over 250 participants in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium created Red Hands to carry the message to world leaders that children are children, not soldiers. Some amazing messages were written: Stop the use of child soldiers: what if it was your...

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July 19, 2010

Presbyterians Say No Child Soldiers

Follow the Presbyterian effort to end the use of child soldiers on Facebook. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, the Office of Child Advocacy, and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program have launched a new page to provide information and advocacy...

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May 26, 2010

Worship service on child soldiers

Worship at the Presbyterian Center on May 26, 2010 focused on child soldiers and how followers of Jesus, who welcomes children, can work to address this issue. Planned by a team of staff from the Office of Theology Worship and...

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May 19, 2010

Living the Believers’ Calling – no child soldiers!

Here's a way congregations can celebrate 30 years of peacemaking: Hold a Red Hand Sunday to call for an end to the use of children as soldiers. Create red hand prints on paper or cloth (using finger paint, drawing an...

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April 27, 2010

Living the Believers’ Calling – teach confirmands about peace

Here's a way congregations can celebrate 30 years of peacemaking Focus at least one session of the confirmation program on peace. Help confirmands learn more about peacemaking through doing. This could involve a service project or an advocacy effort such...

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April 22, 2010

No child soldiers!

During a retreat, staff members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministry took time to create red hands to say that children should not be used as soldiers. Human Rights Watch reports that children are fighting as...

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February 19, 2010

Children are children, not soldiers!

Check out this equation of faith and love: 10 Presbyterian youth + 6 adult leaders + 2 Presbyterian United Nations Office staff people + some red paint + some cloth = 16 banners + a witness saying "No Child Soldiers"...

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February 3, 2010

Red hands say no child soldiers

Human Rights Watch reports that children currently are used as soldiers fighting in at least 14 countries around the world. They note that “Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence.”...

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March 31, 2009

April 2009 Security Council Report

Security Council Report has issued its Monthly Forecast Report (PDF) for April 2009 that previews issues likely to be considered in the UN Security Council during the month. These include: Sudan - The mandate for the United Nations Mission in...

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March 7, 2009

Red hands in San Antonio

As part of the Red Hand Campaign to end the use of children as soldiers, participants in the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators conference in San Antonio had the opportunity to make red hands. These were among the 250,000 red...

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February 26, 2009

Stop the war against women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo

For ten years, the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) has been the world's deadliest killing ground as warfare and violence have ravaged the country. Amidst the tragedy, rape is systematically used as a weapon of war. And children are forced to...

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February 12, 2009

Red Hand Day Arrives

Today, former child soldiers and other youth representing a grassroots campaign from around the world will present thousands of symbolic “red hands” to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to demand stronger action by international leaders to end the use of child soldiers....

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January 5, 2009

Red Hand Day - February 12

One month remains in the Red Hand Day Campaign to end the use of child soldiers. Student, community, and other groups from all over the world have been collecting ‘red hands’ which will be presented to UN officials in New...

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December 18, 2008

Raise a Red Hand; Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

February 12, 2009 is Red Hand Day - the international child soldier’s commemoration day, a day to work to end the use of child soldiers. According to an optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,...

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