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In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Obama provides aid to countries with child soldiers

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By Ken Hanly
Oct 2, 2013 in Politics
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Washington - While US law prohibits the US from providing military aid to countries that use child soldiers, the law contains provisions that allows the US president to waive the application of the law where it is in the US national interest to do so.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CPSA) bars the US from providing military aid to countries that have “governmental armed forces or government- supported armed groups, including paramilitaries, militias, or civil defense forces, that recruit and use child soldiers.” Child soldiers include children under 18 forced into service and under 15 who have volunteered, and those under 18 who have joined a force other than an army. It also includes those who serve in support roles. The Obama waiver will apply fully to Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen and partially to Congo and Somalia. The partial text of the waiver is as follows:
Pursuant to section 404 of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) (title IV, Public Law 110-457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen; to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow for continued provision of International Military Education and Training (IMET) and nonlethal Excess Defense Articles, and the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles; and to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Somalia to allow for the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles, provision of IMET, and continued provision of assistance under the Peacekeeping Operations authority for logistical support and troop stipends.
Note that not only is the US paying for military education and training in the Congo and Somalia, but in Somalia is also paying troop stipends.
Obama is becoming an expert at waiving human rights laws. He waived part of a law last month that banned the US from supplying lethal aid to terrorist groups so he could send aid to Syrian rebels. In the case of Egypt Obama has refused to call the coup by the armed forces a coup and by doing so does not run afoul of a law that would ban aid to a country where there had been a military coup. Human rights are to be promoted but only insofar as they do not conflict with US national interest as understood by the president.
As the appended video shows, this is not the first time that Obama has waived provisions of the CSPA. In 2010, Samantha Power who was then National Security Council senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights promised that the waivers would not become a recurring event. Power is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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