USA supports recruiting child soldiers

Child soldier in ChadFrom Human Rights Watch:

December 11, 2008

US limits military aid to nations using child soldiers

Under legislation adopted by the US Congress on December 10, 2008, governments involved in the use of children as soldiers may no longer be eligible for US military assistance, Human Rights Watch said today. The legislation, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, could affect six countries currently receiving US military training, financing, and other defense-related assistance: Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda.

Well, as quite some politicians use to say: “That was then. This is now”.

From Al Jazeera today:

Child soldiers ‘no bar’ for US aid

Obama administration decides to continue funding to Chad, Yemen, Sudan and DRC though they use children in armed forces.

Afghanistan is not mentioned in this Al Jazeera report, but don’t bet on the Pentagon and other US government agencies wanting to stop the flow of taxpayers’ money to the Kabul puppet regime; even though it and its warlord supporters continue to use child soldiers.

The report does mention the puppet government in Somalia, which does get much US military aid even though the Washington government officially does not exempt it from the anti-child soldier law.

It does not mention Uganda, whose soldiers serve as Washington’s cannon fodder in Somalia.

It does not mention Sri Lanka …

The nice sounding 2008 United States law is a dead letter.

8 thoughts on “USA supports recruiting child soldiers

  1. Garowe Online (Garowe)

    Somalia: UN Official Expresses Serious Concern About Child Soldiers in Somalia

    3 November 2010

    The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy Wednesday met with the new Prime Minister Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, Radio Garowe reports.

    Coomaraswamy urged Somalia’s new Prime Minister and particularly his incoming government to provide welfare for Somali children.

    “The Prime Minister’s commitment to end the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia is a welcome first step, as is his agreement to the process of putting together measures that will prevent children from being recruited to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG),” said SRSG Coomaraswamy in a statement.

    Speaking to the press in Kenya capital Nairobi after returning from visit to Somalia, Coomaraswamy stressed that the TFG, including its allied militias, has been on the “name and shame” list of the Secretary-General for recruitment and use of children for five consecutive years and is referred to as a persistent violator.

    “Unfortunately, my Office has no access to Al Shabaab or Hizbul Islam which are listed by the Secretary-General for recruiting child soldiers. But we hope that they will abide by international humanitarian law and release all children within their ranks,” said Coomaraswamy.

    In an IDP camp in Bossaso, located in Somalia’s Puntland region, the former chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Right Commission, Coomaraswamy met many women and children, and saw IDPs who still carried bullets in their bodies. Some were raped during their flight to safety, according to aid workers.

    “Accessing health and education services is a struggle for the IDPs and other children in Puntland, where only 8% of the state budget funds social services,” she said.

    Responding to reports of the association of children with piracy, the SRSG was granted access to Bossaso Central Prison and spoke with the juvenile detainees, according to SRSG statement.

    Puntland’s government has urged the world’s naval powers to coordinate and act against the Somali pirate gangs who operate along the country’s long coast.

    Since 2006, Puntland has underwent a massive influx of IDPs fleeing relentless warfare in Mogadishu and other regions in southern Somalia, with Puntland authorities expressing alarm over security and health conditions at the IDP camps in major towns like Bossaso.


  2. It’s economic conscription

    New figures released by the Ministry of Defence reveal an increase in 16 year olds joining the army last year.

    Sixteen year olds accounted for 1,400 of new recruits—an increase of 4.7 percent on the previous year.

    This trend will rise with the scrapping of education maintenance allowance (EMA) that enabled working class students to get to and from college, and with fewer jobs available.

    Socialists need to call this what it is—economic conscription.

    This is another example why socialists need to link the fight against war and army recruitment on our campuses to the fight against cuts.

    Matt Hale, Manchester [England]


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