Washington, D.C. November 8, 2010 —
In a joint letter with other leading humanitarian groups, World Vision has expressed disappointment over the Obama Administration’s recent decision to waive restrictions on U.S. military assistance to four countries that use child soldiers. The statement warns the President that his decision risks undermining the Child Soldiers Prevention Act
, which was adopted in 2008 with strong bipartisan support from Congress.
The statement comes after President Obama granted waivers to Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, and Yemen – all countries implicated in child soldier usage according to the Trafficking in Persons Report
from the U.S. Department of State. The letter also offers options for immediate actions to press these countries toward ending their use of children in combat.
"This is about the humanitarian community coming together to voice our disappointment in this decision and propose concrete steps for moving forward,” said Jesse Eaves, advisor on child protection policy for World Vision in the U.S. “These are steps that the Obama administration can take to prove they are serious about ending the use of child soldiers in armies that receive U.S. military support. American tax-payer dollars should never put a gun in the hands of a child, and we are working to ensure that does not happen.
“Right now they are sending the wrong message: that you can get away with using child soldiers as long as your country is strategic enough to U.S. interests,” said Eaves.
Nearly 30 non-government organizations signed the letter, including Amnesty International, International Justice Mission, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam America, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, and World Vision.Letter to President Obama (PDF, 209KB)About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. To learn more, visit www.worldvision.org