US waives child soldier sanctions on six nations - again

Friday, October 3, 2014

H/t to fellow global health bloggers Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy who point this out every year - as they should, because it is even more disappointing every time it happens.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday fully waived sanctions and lifted bans on international military, education and training assistance to Yemen, Rwanda and Somalia applied under the Child Soldier Prevention Act, said deputy assistant secretary Michael Kozak.

Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan were also given partial waivers for specific military purposes, while sanctions were maintained on Myanmar, Sudan and Syria, found guilty of the widespread recruitment of children into their armies.

Waivers did not mean the United States was turning a blind eye to the use of child soldiers or providing an "unlimited flow of security assistance," Kozak said.

"The waiver doesn't mean that they are not guilty of recruiting child soldiers. To the contrary, it means they are, and therefore the sanction in law would apply but for the waiver," Kozak said, adding the idea was a bit like "a doctor treating a patient."

"You don't want to do something that's going to kill the patient. If you have al-Shebab take over in Somalia because we couldn't support the government at all, that's not going to help the child soldier problem or any other human rights problem."
I'm pretty sure that waiving sanctions to allow the Somalian government to recruit child soldiers year after year hasn't really helped with the al-Shabab problem; last I checked, it was still a failed state. I suppose we can just add it to the list of this administration's failures, along with closing Gitmo and living up to a prematurely-awarded Peace Prize.

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