State Dept. officials accuse Tillerson of violating law

Lester Mason
November 21, 2017

"I am very concerned by reports that some countries were excluded from the annual Child Soldiers Prevention Act list appended to this year's TIP report, despite compelling evidence presented in the report of the use of child soldiers".

The "dissent" memo alleges Tillerson's June decision not to include Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan on the list of countries that use child soldiers violated the Child Soldiers Prevention Act, according to the news service.

"The dissenting USA officials stressed that Tillerson's decision to exclude Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar went a step further than the Obama administration's waiver policy by contravening the law and effectively easing pressure on the countries to eradicate the use of child soldiers", Reuters reports. Tillerson's decision to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar off the list effectively made it easier for America to help those nations' military efforts.

In 2016, Iraq and Myanmar (sometimes identified as Burma) were included on the list, but Afghanistan was not.

CNN reached out to the State Department for comment but has not yet received a response. The law requires that children under 18 are not "recruited, conscripted or otherwise compelled to serve as child soldiers". The memo also asserts that Tillerson's decision sends the message that minimal efforts are sufficient and that "we as a government are not interested in upholding global norms, nor in holding countries accountable for ongoing abuses against children".

Tillerson wrote about the need for the United States to continue supporting the community. "Keeping the countries off the annual list makes it easier to provide them with USA military assistance", Reuters explains.

"Secretary of State Tillerson apparently believes the list is subject to backroom political calculations, rather than facts on the ground and US law", Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a June statement.

"The Child Soldiers Prevention Act gives the president some discretion in applying sanctions against countries using child soldiers", Becker concluded, "but it doesn't give the State Department discretion to take off countries that belong on the list".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article