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Obama waives sanctions on countries that use child soldiers

by on October 2, 2012

(ForeignPolicy.com)

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a new executive order last week to fight human trafficking, touting his administration’s handling of the issue.

“When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery,” Obama said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. “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.”

But for the third year in a row, Obama has waived almost all U.S. sanctions that would punish certain countries that use child soldiers, upsetting many in the human rights community.

Late Friday afternoon, Obama issued a presidential memorandumwaiving penalties under the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 for Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, penalties that Congress put in place to prevent U.S. arms sales to countries determined by the State Department to be the worst abusers of child soldiers in their militaries. The president also partially waived sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow some military training and arms sales to that country.

Human rights advocates saw the waivers as harmful to the goal of using U.S. influence to urge countries that receive military assistance to move away from using child soldiers and contradictory to the rhetoric Obama used in his speech.

“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,” saidJesse Eaves, the senior policy advisor for child protection at World Vision.

The Obama administration doesn’t want to upset its relationships with countries that it needs for security cooperation, but the blanket use of waivers is allowing the administration to avoid the law’s intent, which was to use force the U.S. government to put a greater priority on human rights and child protection when doling out military aid, he said.

“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,” Eaves said.

The Romney campaign has made Obama’s record on human rights a feature of its foreign-policy critique, with top advisors accusing the president of deprioritizing the issue, often in sweeping terms.

“Barack Obama has broken with a tradition that goes back to Woodrow Wilson about human rights and values animating our foreign policy. This administration has not been an effective voice for human rights,” said Romney campaign senior advisor for foreign policy Rich Williamson, who also served as George W. Bush‘s special envoy to Sudan, told The Cable in July.

Bushsigned the child-soldiers law in 2008. It prohibits U.S. military education and training, foreign military financing, and other defense-related assistance to countries that actively recruit troops under the age of 18. Countries are designated as violators if the State Department’s annualTrafficking in Persons report identifies them as recruiting child soldiers. The original bill was sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Obama first waived the sanctions in 2010, the first year they were to go into effect. At that time, the White House failed to inform Congress or the NGO community of its decision in advance, setting off a fierce backlash. A justification memo obtained by The Cable at the time made several security-related arguments for the waivers. Sudan was going through a fragile transition, for example. Yemen was crucial to counterterrorism cooperation, the administration argued.

But NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power told NGO leaders at the time that the waivers would not become a recurring event.

“Our judgment was: Brand them, name them, shame them, and then try to leverage assistance in a fashion to make this work,” Power said, saying the administration wanted to give the violator countries one more year to show progress. “Our judgment is we’ll work from inside the tent.”

But the next year, in 2011, Obama waived almost all the sanctions once again, using largely the same justifications, except that the administration argued that the law didn’t apply to South Sudan because it wasn’t a country until July 2011. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) tried to pass new legislation to force Obama to notify Congress before issuing the waivers.

Fortenberry called the decision an “assault on human dignity,” and said, “Good citizens of this country who do not want to be complicit in this grave human rights abuse must challenge this administration.”

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/01/obama_waives_sanctions_on_countries_that_use_child_soldiers

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2 Comments
  1. Laura permalink

    Islamic Jihad massacres, as hate crimes en-masse

    Every Islamic terror act, anywhere, is a clear cut case of intolerance. It is always against the “other.”

    True, by Islamic Jihad any infidel targets are fair-game. It’s just that some groups are easier targets than others, as “justification” are aided by propaganda, often backed by some radical liberals in the West. Such are many Muslim aggressors posing as “victims.” For instance, those Arab immigrants’ grandchildren, invaders in Jews’ Israel/Palestine who go by the title “Palestinians,” while some in the West really buy the notion that these mass-murderers (who hide behind civilians, to bring about casualties, to be used as trophies) are just about “Palestine-Arab-State,” ignoring or unaware of their real ethnic cleansing aims from the entire Holy Land.

    Ethno-religious hatred classics:

    Arab supremacy –derived from Koran, Koranic spirit and themes– especially resulting in enslaving Africans and Asians in the Arab world (often having the “inferior” non-Arabs as ‘sex-slaves’ as well) and the genocide in the Sudan (of already 3.5 million, since the 1950s) by a classic combination of Arab racism and Islamic Jihad. The same diabolical combination that “founded” (in the 1920s) the Arab Vs Israel “conflict,” by infamous Mufti who collaborated with the ultimate ‘racists’ – the WW2 Hitler/Nazis. Ever since, the ‘holy war’ against the Jews in the land has always been under the dual slogan of Allah Akbar and Itbach al-Yahud (AKA genocide). Leaving also behind, an inspired legacy of decades (and current) of ugly Nazi style cartoons in the hateful Arab press.

    The Armenian Genocide 1915-23, was both: Turkish ethnic supremacy and an overall holy war against Christians. The same goes to Turkish anti-Greek and anti-Assyrian genocide. Totaling a combined 2.7 million Christian victims.

    Ethno-Religious Moro-Muslims VS Philippines’ natives.

    Ethno-Religious Malay-Muslims VS Thai natives.

    Ethno-Religious Islamic-Hausa-Fulani VS Igbo Christians in Biafra Nigeria – 1960s-70s (3 million dead).
    Current (2011-13) Boko Haram Islamic mass-murder campaign in that country, deepens the Ethno-Religious divide.

    Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Black-Muslim supremacy’s anti-White racism is deeply woven with radical Islamic vision. So were its linked Zebra murders in the 1970s and the Beltway snipers shootings in 2002.

    Ethno-Religious “pure-Muslim” Pakistani VS Bangladeshi (regarded as the impure) genocide – 1971 (3 million dead).

    Ethno-Religious “Palestinian” and Lebanese Muslims VS Christian Natives Maronites in Lebanon. 1970s-2000.

    Iran-Iraq war – 1980s (a million victims – at least). Racism (Arab supremacy vs Aryan-Iranians) and “we are the true Muslims” motivation, on both sides.

    Pakistani Sunnis and Shiites VS Ethno-Religious Ahmadis, resulting in mass violence. So is rampant anti-Ahmadi bigotry among “Palestinian” Arabs.

    Ethno-Religious Muslim-Uighur VS Han native Chinese. Terror attacks (not just against government but against ordinary Chinese too) recorded.

    Ethno-Religious Indonesian Muslims VS Chinese (1999 mass rape and murder) and VS native Catholics in E. Timor (200,000 victims).

    One of the ardent supporters and admirers of Osama bin Laden, who celebrated 9/11 massacre, the pan-Arab, pan-Islamic AEL (Arab European League) founded by Arab Lebanese, former Hezbollah D. A. Jahjah, has been accused of inciting racism and violence in Belgium.

    Ever since the bloody ‘Islamic theme of al-Aqsa’ intifada erupted (2000), Jews in Europe have been even an easier target to Islamic anti-Semitism, physical attacks and attempted ethnic cleansing. Such as by Arab/African Muslims in France; by Turkish/Iranian Muslims in Germany; by Arab-Muslims in the Benelux, Sweden and Norway. The kidnappers and torturers to death of Ilan Halimi to the sound of reciting the Koran (Paris, 2006) –for instance– were inspired by Hamas literature.
    The (2012) Toulouse school massacre by Mohamed Merah of the Islamic hate group ‘Forsane Alizza,’ (NYT reported Jan/23/12, that its site was laced with hate posting, it typically claimed to be “fighting Islamophobia,” and the DailyTelegraph reported Mar/23/12, that in Jan/12, “Forsane Alizza was banned in France for inciting racial hatred,”) made sure to mention those “Palestinians.”
    Likewise, Arabs in Latin America, have been targeting Jews.

    The Pakistani Jihadi Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) in Mumbai (2008), aided by the ISI (Pakistan Spy Agency) specifically targeted Whites, and even more so the Jews.

    Ethno-Religious Arab-Muslims VS native Coptic-Christians in Egypt, hate crimes still going on…

    Ethno-Religious (mostly separated by origin/ethnicity as well) Shiite VS Sunnis, and vice versa in Iraq (Zarqawi argued that ‘Shia were more dangerous than the “Zionists and Crusaders,”‘ Egyptian Cleric said -Mar/09- “Shiites are worse than Jews,”) and in Pakistan.
    Sunni Vs Alawites, Syria (al-Qaeda cleric’s Fatwa -Jul/12- calls Alawites, “greater infidels than the Christians and Jews”).
    Bloodshed going on, full force.
    A study about 2011 worldwide terror attacks -for example- found 70% of the (over 12,000) killings were perpetrated by Sunni Muslims. That includes: al-Qaeda, Taliban, and others.

    Last point but not least: most “conflicts” and bloodshed around the globe today ARE correlated to Islamism.

    • Yes, Laura, thank you for paying attention. We are interested in exposing the truth.

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