Posted on | October 3, 2012 by Lisa Correnti |
The Cable reported that for the third consecutive year President Obama has waived restrictions to countries that use child soldiers.
The presidential memorandum quietly released last Friday came just 3 days after the president issued a new anti-trafficking Executive Order to strengthen the ability of the government to combat forced labor and servitude of men, women and children.
Human rights groups have been calling on the administration to abide by the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 which was signed by President Bush and went into affect in 2010.
The proclamation issued on September 28 states that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive restrictions called for under the Child Soldier Act in respect to Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen. The restrictions were also waived in part to the Congo.
The waiver allows these countries in violation to receive military funding and access to U.S. arms sales.
The 2012 State Departments “Trafficking in Persons” report found seven countries were in violation for having ”recruited and used children younger than 15 as soldiers in their armed forces or government-supported militias.”
U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a member of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee and author of a bill that would have required the president to report to Congress 15 days before issuing another waiver, issued the following statement.
The unthinkable practice of the use of children as soldiers continues in the world today. The United States must not be complicit in this practice. The announcement of waivers for countries should only be for carefully discerned prudential reasons to help force countries away from this pernicious practice. The intent of the law is clear – the waiver authority should be used as a mechanism for reform, not as a way of continuing the status quo.
Congo, Sudan and Yemen have been in violation since 2010.