Media Contact:Laura Blank
Washington, DC (October 5, 2011) — On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced the latest round of guidelines outlining how the federal government will use military aid to countries whose militaries recruit and use child soldiers.
"At a time when Congress is locked in one of the most difficult budget battles I’ve ever seen, it is shameful that a portion of federal funding continues to help support governments who are abusing children," said Jesse Eaves, World Vision’s policy advisor for children in crisis. "This is a very weak decision by an Administration paralyzed with inaction. And the worst part is that thousands of children around the world — not the politicians in the White House or the State Department — are the ones who will suffer."
The statement comes after President Obama granted a partial waiver to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a full waiver to Yemen — both countries implicated in child soldier usage according to the most recent Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. Department of State. Citing improvements in addressing the issue of child soldiers, the White House granted the government of Chad full access to all forms of military aid.
"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 refuses to show the moral and political backbone necessary to enforce the law that took effect just one year ago," added Eaves. "The U.S. refuses to provide any clear benchmarks to track any progress in these countries and refuses to use the diplomatic and punitive tools the Child Soldier Prevention Act (CSPA) provides. Rather, it seems we are now complicit with the problem by allowing American taxpayer dollars to support governments that persist in recruiting child soldiers or refuse to hold military commanders accountable."
The decision to grant a full national security waiver to Yemen and a partial waiver to DRC means that the U.S. will continue to give military aid to governments who, yet again, fail to meet the child protection requirements outlined under the CSPA. Furthermore, the reinstatement of military aid to Chad (which due to a full waiver granted last year never lost military aid to begin with) without any clear benchmarks to ensure continued progress, is also troubling.
"At its core, this is a missed opportunity to show leadership on this issue and protect thousands of vulnerable children around the world. Frankly we expected more from our nation’s leaders," Eaves concluded.
To speak with Jesse Eaves about today's decision, please contact: Laura Blank, email@example.com or +1.708.872.5265.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.