World Vision Media Relations Manager
Washington, DC (October 2, 2012) — On Friday, the Obama Administration announced the latest round of guidelines outlining how the federal government will provide military aid to countries whose militaries recruit and use child soldiers.
“To see President Obama take such a strong stance against child exploitation on Tuesday and then a few days later turn around and offer waivers to countries who continue to use children in their militaries sends a disappointing mixed message to those of us who work every day to see children cared for and protected around the world,” said Jesse Eaves, World Vision’s senior policy advisor for child protection. “The Administration is seemingly choosing politics over protection, and children are getting caught in the middle.”
The statement comes after President Obama granted a partial waiver to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a full waiver to South Sudan, Yemen and Libya — all countries implicated in child soldier usage according to the most recent Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. Department of State. In a troubling sign, the number of countries receiving a full waiver increased this year over last year.
“While it’s true that these countries need support to help end the widespread use of child soldiers, they continue to exploit children in their militaries, and the United States still refuses to show the political will necessary to enforce the law that took effect just two years ago under the Child Soldier Prevention Act,” added Eaves.
The decision to grant a full national security waiver to Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen and a partial waiver to DRC means that the U.S. will continue to give military aid to governments who continually fail to meet the child protection requirements outlined under the law.
“The intent of the law is to use the waiver authority only in extreme circumstances. Instead, waivers have become the default reaction of this Administration and the full effect of the law is only being used on countries that we’re not financing anyway,” Eaves said. “This is a missed opportunity to do what President Obama declared on Tuesday was his intention — to make the U.S. a leader in the global movement against exploitation.”
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About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injutice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews