NEW YORK - June 28 - Amnesty International USA announced today that actor and filmmaker Nicolas Cage is donating $2 million to establish a fund to help former child soldiers, which will include support for rehabilitation shelters, medical services and psychological and reintegration services, and to support Amnesty International's work on child soldiers. Amnesty International, a member of the Coalition Against the Use of Child Soldiers, will administer the funds to service providers on the ground.
“We thank Nicolas for his extremely generous contribution,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director. “As an Amnesty International member, Nicolas has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the horrors faced by child soldiers and other human rights tragedies. We commend his efforts and appreciate his generosity.”
Cox will make the formal announcement tonight in New York at a press conference during the United Nations Review Conference on the Program of Action on Small Arms. Cage will speak about his motivation to provide this generous gift via a videotaped statement to be shown prior to and during a concert at The Supper Club. The event is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Supper Club, located at 240 W. 47th Street.
“Think about the nine months it took for your child to be born; think about all the care you put into teaching him how to cross the street and look both ways or to read a book or to simply have good manners. Then imagine a warlord dropping a gun into his hand and forcing him to kill someone. He’s eight years old. He hasn’t kissed a girl yet or fallen in love, but he’s killed a man. What does that do to a child’s mind? Sounds like a nightmare? It’s reality for some families,” says Cage in his video statement.
Around the world today, children are increasingly both war's victims and its combatants. An estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 are currently participating in armed conflicts in more than 30 countries on nearly every continent. While most child soldiers are in their teens, some are as young as seven years old.
Cage has been working closely with Amnesty International USA for the past 2 ˝ years. Amnesty International collaborated with Cage and filmmakers on the film Lord of War to raise awareness about the international Control Arms Campaign. Through this campaign, Amnesty International, Oxfam and International Action Network on Small Arms are focusing on encouraging the United States to lead efforts to establish strict guidelines on the international transfer of small arms and light weapons. Cage also supported AI’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign.