In May 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted into the Convention of the Rights of the Child the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. On February 12th, 2002 the protocol came into force and international ‘Red Hand Day’, recognizing the plight of child soldiers, was established.
At the core of Invisible Children is the hope to daily bring attention to the thousands of children who have been, and continue to be, kidnapped and forced to fight as part of Joseph Kony’s LRA. But we know that there are thousands of other children outside central Africa, in different countries, on different continents, who have been robbed of a childhood and often a future. Today we stand in solidarity with all those who have taken a stand against the global atrocity of children in armed conflict and we remind ourselves of our commitment to the ideal that no child, anywhere in the world, should be abducted or killed.
A large portion of the LRA is comprised of now adults who were kidnapped as children. This creates complex dynamics surrounding reconciliation and reintegration, however remains a driving force behind our commitment to defection programming— ensuring that LRA combatants, most of whom were taken by force as children, have the opportunity to peacefully surrender and return to their families.