Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Obama Waives Penalties on Countries That Employ Child Soldiers – Again! NGOs&Human Rights Community Upset #prolife #childabuse #tcot

According to a new report,known as the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Yemen is set to receive $35 million from the United States in foreign military financing;even though the US doesn't know who is actually in control of the military. In the mean time, the US is waiving penalties on countries such as Yemen,Sudan and others who use child soldiers and violate the Child Soldier Prevention Act.

 According to the progressive site,Common Dreams, NGO's and other Obama supporters, are not happy with the administrations decision to waive penalties against these countries for a second year. It could be another thorn in the Obama side while campaigning for re-election in 2012.

President Barack Obama has decided to waive almost all the legally mandated penalties for countries that use child soldiers and provide those countries U.S. military assistance, just like he did last year.
The Obama Administration has laid out a range of justifications for waiving penalties on Yemen, South Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which amount to a gutting of the law for the second year in a row. The White House is expected to soon announce its decision to issue a series of waivers for the Child Soldiers Protection Act, a 2008 law that is meant to stop the United States from giving military aid to countries that recruit soldiers under the age of 15 and use them to fight wars. The administration has laid out a range of justifications for waiving penalties on Yemen, South Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which amount to a gutting of the law for the second year in a row.

Last year, the White House didn't even tell Congress or the NGO community when it decided to do away with the Child Soldiers Prevention Act penalties. Most had to read about it first on The Cable. Aid workers, human rights activists, and even congressional offices were shocked that the administration had gutted the law without consulting them.

The White House argued at the time that because the law was new, the offending countries didn't have time to comply. As part of their damage control effort, they put National Security Council Senior Director Samantha Power on a private conference call with NGO workers (that we eavesdropped on) to explain that these waivers would only be for one year -- but that in the second year, the administration was going to enforce the law in full.
"Our judgment was to brand them, name them, shame them, and then try to leverage assistance in a fashion to make this work," Power said at the time. "Our judgment is we'll work from inside the tent."
Apparently that plan was scuttled, because the administration has decided to waive almost all the penalties again, despite the fact that little progress has been made in any of the offender countries.
In a meeting with NGO representatives on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, State Department officials, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Dan Baer, explained this year's reasons why the White House will continue to give military funding to countries that use child soldiers.

For South Sudan, State Department officials argued that since the country didn't exist when the latest report on child soldier abuse came out, that country doesn't fall under the law. Their reasoning is that the report in question, known as the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, came out June 27. South Sudan was declared independent 12 days later on July 9. They will receive $100 million in U.S. military aid this year.
"South Sudan may be a new country, but it's not a blank slate here," one attendee at the White House meeting told The Cable. "There's been two decades of child soldier use and unfulfilled promises by the [Sudan People's Liberation Army]."
For Yemen, the administration's argument is simply that counter terrorism cooperation with that country is too important to suspend. Yemen is set to receive $35 million from the United States in foreign military financing. What stunned activists in the room, however, was State Department officials' admission that they don't know who actually controls the Yemeni military these days.
"The officials said, ‘We don't even know day by day who we're even talking to,'" one attendee reported.
 Does the Obama administration not care about children being used&abused as child soldiers? It doesn't surprise me considering this administration is so willing to fund Planned Parenthood with US taxpayer money to perform over 300K abortions per year. According to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE),  vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights the US is violating the US Child Soldiers Prevention Act:
To the human rights community, today's action by the White House represents both an abandonment of efforts to protect children, and a betrayal of the NGO community, which had been promised that this year would be different from last year.
"The White House said last year that they were putting these countries on notice but now it's a year later and the U.S. is still handing over taxpayer money to countries that use child soldiers with no strings attached," said Jo Becker, advocacy director for the children's rights division at Human Rights Watch.

"President Obama's decision today to provide taxpayer funded military assistance to countries that use children as soldiers is an assault on human dignity," said Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

"Our law states that America does not fund the use of child soldiers," he said. "Any exceptions must be temporary and intended to help stop this pernicious practice."
The White House's justification memo can be found here.
The White House and State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Read More:Common Dreams
©2008-2011 Patricia Garza

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