Politics

Pres. Obama Waives Sanctions Against Countries Using Child Soldiers

| by Michael Allen

President Barack Obama recently said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative: "When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed, that's slavery. It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we've long rejected such cruelty."

However, for the third year in a row, Pres. Obama has waived almost all U.S. sanctions that would punish several countries that use child soldiers, including Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, reports ForeignPolicy.com.

The Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 was put in place to prevent U.S. arms sales to countries that are the worst abusers of using child soldiers.

President Obama has even partially waived sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow some military training and arms sales to that country, in spite of that government's flagrant human rights abuses.

Human rights advocates say that the Obama administration doesn't want to upset its relationships with countries that it needs for security cooperation, but is contradicting its committment to children.

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Jesse Eaves, senior policy advisor for child protection at World Vision, told foreignpolicy.com: "After such a strong statement against the exploitation of children, it seems bizarre that Obama would give a pass to countries using children in their armed forces and using U.S. tax money to do that."

"The intent in this law was to use this waiver authority only in extreme circumstances, yet this has become an annual thing and this has become the default of this administration."