International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers

250,000 girls and boys are abused as child soldiers worldwide. Civil wars, armed conflicts, and humanitarian crises continue to result in the forced recruitment of children, despite the existence of numerous international agreements, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibit the involvement of children in armed conflicts.

Our partner Save the Children is committed to fighting the abuse of children as soldiers in South Sudan and other countries. To mark today's Red Hand Day, they are sharing the inspiring story of Vichuta Ly - a former child soldier who is now a human rights lawyer fighting for children's rights. Read her inspiring story here: Link

On today's Red Hand Day - the international day against the use of child soldiers - we want to draw awareness to this important issue. Therefore, we have selected five films that offer insights into the reality of a stolen childhood, tell stories of those who have survived, and remind us that we must continue to fight for better ways to protect all children.  


The Child Soldier's New Job
Mads Ellesøe / 2016 / 68 Min

The privatization of war has become big business. Cheap, outsourced labour is hired from the poorest parts of the world. With US Department of Defense money, some private companies even hire former child soldiers from Sierra Leone and Uganda, despite an industry code of conduct. How US private military firms hire former child soldiers to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

War Child
C. Karim Chrobog / 2008 / 94 Min

War Child chronicles the tumultuous, shocking, inspiring, and ultimately hopeful odyssey of Emmanuel Jal. A former child soldier of Sudan’s brutal civil war, he is now an emerging international hip hop star sharing a message of peace for his war-torn land and beloved Africa. WAR CHILD tells the story of Jal’s life through his words and music and remarkable film footage dating back to his childhood. 

My Enemy, My Brother 
Ann Shin / 2015 / 88 Min

MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER is the real-life story about two former enemies who become blood brothers for life: Zahed Haftlang was an Iranian boy who ran away from home to join the army. Najah Aboud was a 19-year old Iraqi who had been conscripted to fight in the war, leaving behind his wife and son.

Sierra Leone – a Culture of Silence 
Raouf J Jacob / 2014 / 84 Min

Thirteen years after a vicious civil war forced him to flee his childhood home of Sierra Leone, director Raouf J Jacob’s returns to find meaning in a place once forsaken by the rest of the world. Travelling across the country, he explores the sensitive environmental, social and cultural issues that, even today, remain taboo, but he also searches for the lost boys, former child soldiers living in the shadows, to see how successful attempts to reintegrate them in society have been. 

Ballad of the Little Soldier
Werner Herzog / 1984 / 46 Min

1984 documentary film directed by Werner Herzog about children soldiers in Nicaragua. The film focuses on the indigenous group of Miskito who used child-soldiers in their resistance against the Sandinistas.

12. FEBRUARY 2021