Obama Administration Urged to Stop Funding Child Soldiers

Thursday, October 06, 2011
(photo: UNICEF)
For the second year in a row, the Obama administration has decided to override U.S. law and allow military assistance to foreign governments that use child soldiers.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 prohibits the U.S. government from providing military financing, training and assistance to regimes that force children under the age of fifteen into serving as soldiers. But a provision in the law allows the president to waive the restrictions for specific countries, and the administration has elected to exercise this power, just as it did last year.
Under the waivers, the countries of Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen will be eligible for military help from Washington. All four were classified by the State Department in June as having used child soldiers, as were Burma and Somalia.
“Countries that keep using child soldiers aren’t going to get serious about ending the practice until they see the US is serious about withholding the money,” said Jo Becker, child rights advocate at Human Rights Watch. “These military aid waivers show a lack of leadership and a disregard for US law.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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