Nigeria Observes 'Red Hand Day' to End Child Recruitment in Armed Conflicts
13 February 2023 - ABUJA, NIGERIA – Yesterday, 12 February marked the annual observance of 'Red Hand Day', a day dedicated to raising awareness and strengthening efforts to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts worldwide. Despite the international community's efforts to eradicate this issue, children continue to be exploited by armed actors, with many remaining unidentified and unreported, particularly girls.
In Nigeria, there have been numerous reports of children being recruited and used by armed groups, with devastating consequences on their physical and psychological well-being. The Nigerian government, in collaboration with the international community, has made considerable progress in improving legal and policy frameworks to protect children associated with armed actors.
"Red Hand Day is an important reminder of the ongoing challenge to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts," said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. "We applaud the efforts of the Government of Nigeria for the signing of the Handover Protocol for children encountered in the course of armed conflict in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Region. This moment is also another opportunity for the Federal Government of Nigeria to endorse The Paris commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and the Paris principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups.”
In addition, UNICEF in partnership with other relevant stakeholders will continue to support the efforts of the Government to invest in the prevention of child recruitment and use, facilitate and scale-up the reintegration of children, especially girls and including women that exit armed groups in the north-east.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.