By Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick:
This week, the Obama administration issued the final waivers under the Child Soldier Prevention Act. The waivers will allow seven governments to continue to receive U.S. military assistance and weapons despite evidence of their recruitment and use of child soldiers. While this annual bureaucratic stroke of a pen flies under the radar, these waiver determinations mark a significant moment for the administration’s legacy on protecting children in conflict and promoting strong human rights standards.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) is intended to leverage coveted U.S. military assistance and encourage governments to stop using children in combat. Signed into law in 2008, the CSPA took effect in 2010 and restricts U.S. military support to countries identified by the State Department as having recruited and used child soldiers in their national militaries or government-supported armed groups. If a country appears on the annual CSPA list, it may be ineligible to receive U.S. weapons and military assistance in the following fiscal year.