Child Soldiers Prevention Act

Last updated
Child Soldiers Prevention Act
Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
Acronyms (colloquial)CSPA
Enacted bythe 110th United States Congress
EffectiveDecember 23, 2008
Citations
Public law 110–457 (Title IV)
Statutes at Large 122  Stat.   5044 through 122  Stat.   5092 (48 pages)
Legislative history

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) is a United States federal statute signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 23, 2008, as part of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. The law criminalizes leading a military force which recruits child soldiers. The law's definition of child soldiers includes "any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces."

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

George W. Bush 43rd president of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) is a federal statute passed into law in 2000 by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton. The law was later reauthorized by presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump. In addition to its applicability to US citizens, it has the ability to authorize protections for undocumented immigrants who are victims of severe forms of trafficking and violence.

Contents

Legislative history

Pre-2008 bills

On July 28, 2006, Representative Chris Smith (R–NJ) introduced a bill called the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2006, which was referred to the House Committee on International Relations, where it died. [1] On April 19, 2007, Senator Dick Durbin (D–IL) introduced a similar bill, which gained 35 cosponsors. [2] On June 7, 2007, Rep. Jim Marshall (D–GA) reintroduced the Child Soldier Prevention Act, which gained 13 cosponsors. [3] On July 12, 2007, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE) also introduced the bill, which gained 15 cosponsors of its own. [4]

Chris Smith (New Jersey politician) American politician

Christopher Henry Smith is an American politician currently serving in his 20th term as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 4th congressional district, having served since 1981. The district includes portions of Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. He is a member of the Republican Party.

The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, also known as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives, which has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States.

Dick Durbin United States Senator from Illinois

Richard Joseph Durbin is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Illinois, a seat he was first elected to in 1996. He has been the Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, the second-highest position in the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate.

2008 law

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act was introduced as part of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 in the House of Representatives on December 9, 2008, by Rep. Howard Berman (D–CA) and cosponsored by six other Representatives: John Conyers (D–MI), Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE), Zoe Lofgren (D–CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL), Bobby Scott (D–VA), and Chris Smith (R–NJ). [5] The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary Committees. [6] On December 10, Berman asked for unanimous consent to discharge the bill from committee. [6] The bill would then pass the House without objection. [6] On the same day, the Senate passed the bill without amendment by unanimous consent. [6] On December 23, President George W. Bush signed the bill into law. [6]

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

Howard Berman American politician

Howard Lawrence Berman is an American attorney and former U.S. Representative, last serving California's 28th congressional district, serving in Congress from 1983 to 2013. The district, numbered as the 26th District from 1983 to 2003, included about half of the San Fernando Valley. Berman is a Democrat.

John Conyers American politician

John James Conyers Jr. is an American politician of the Democratic Party who served as a U.S. Representative for Michigan from 1965 to 2017. He is now retired. The districts he represented always included part of western Detroit. During his final three terms, his district included many of Detroit's western suburbs, as well as a large portion of the Downriver area.

Proposed amendments

On July 13, 2011, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R–NE) introduced a bill to amend the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 to prohibit peacekeeping operations assistance to countries that recruit and use child soldiers. [7] On February 16, 2017, Rep. Chris Smith (R–NJ) introduced his own amendment to the CSPA, which was cosponsored by four other Representatives: Randy Hultgren (R–IL), Jim McGovern (D–MA), Randy Weber (R–TX), and Frederica Wilson (D–FL). [8]

Peacekeeping Activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace

Peacekeeping refers to activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace. Research generally finds that peacekeeping reduces civilian and battlefield deaths and reduces the risk of renewed warfare.

Randy Hultgren American politician

Randall Mark Hultgren is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 14th congressional district from 2011 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Jim McGovern (American politician) U.S. Representative from Massachusetts

James Patrick McGovern is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 3rd District from 1997 to 2013, stretches from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley.

List

Timeline

Currently listed
Formerly listed CSPA list.svg
  Currently listed
  Formerly listed
  Listed
  Partially waived
  Waived
  Unlisted
Timeline of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act list
Country2010s
012345678
Flag of the Central African Republic.svg  Central African Republic
Flag of Chad.svg  Chad
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
Flag of Iraq.svg  Iraq
Flag of Libya.svg  Libya
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali
Flag of Myanmar.svg  Myanmar
Flag of Niger.svg  Niger
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda
Flag of Somalia.svg  Somalia
Flag of South Sudan.svg  South Sudan
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan
Flag of Syria.svg  Syria
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen
Country012345678
2010s

Waivers and removals

The CSPA bans the United States from providing military assistance or arms sales to governments that use children in combat, but the president may waive the application of the law for specific countries if it is deemed to be in the national interest. [9]

The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d'État, is a country's goals and ambitions, whether economic, military, cultural or otherwise. The concept is an important one in international relations, where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.

On October 25, 2010, the first waivers were issued for the CSPA by President Barack Obama, which were applied to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen. [10] In a memo sent to Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, Obama said it was in the national interest of the United States to do so. [10] On October 27, senior US officials said that Yemen was exempted because ending military aid would jeopardize the country's ability to fight al-Qaeda. [11] The military of Yemen was suspected of enlisting children as young as 15 and regional militias of enlisting children 14 and older. [12] In Sudan, US military assistance was seen as critical in helping the southern part of the country build military institutions in the event that it voted to secede in the January 2011 referendum. [11] The leaders of the southern region agreed in 2009 to end the use of child soldiers in their forces, but in December of that year, 1,200 children ages 12 to 17 were still in the Sudan People's Liberation Army. [12] The Democratic Republic of the Congo was exempted because US-supported programs were helping its military become more professional and fight rights abuses. [12] Chad was also granted an exception, which was said to be a reward for its role in fighting terrorism and hosting an estimated 280,000 refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan. [11] [12]

Barack Obama 44th president of the United States

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.

Chad Country in central Africa

Chad, officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in Africa and the second-largest in Central Africa regarding area. "La Tchadienne" is the official anthem of Chad.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Country in Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, East Congo, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. It is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populous country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populous country in the world. Eastern DR Congo has been the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015.

On October 4, 2011, Obama certified that the government of Chad had implemented measures that include an action plan and actual steps to come into compliance with the CSPA, waived its application for Yemen, and waived in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [13] According to US National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor, South Sudan was not penalized because it "wasn't a country during the reporting period [of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report] and isn't subject to the CSPA." [14] On September 28, 2012, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, but only in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [15] On September 30, 2013, waivers were issued for Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen, but only partial waivers for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. [16]

On September 30, 2014, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for Rwanda, Somalia, and Yemen, but only waived in part for the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. [17] On September 29, 2015, Obama waived the application of the CSPA for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Somalia, but only waived in part for South Sudan. [18] On September 28, 2016, Obama waived the application of the law for Iraq, Myanmar, and Nigeria. [19] The CSPA was waived in part for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow for provision of International Military Education and Training and Peacekeeping Operations assistance to build the country's military's capacity to counter the Lord's Resistance Army and other armed groups. [19] It was also waived in part for Rwanda, Somalia, and South Sudan. [19]

On July 28, 2017, a memo written by about a dozen officials at the United States Department of State said that Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, breached the CSPA when he decided in June to exclude Afghanistan, Iraq, and Myanmar from the list altogether. [20] The memo, which was sent through the Dissent Channel, was sent to Brian Hook, the Director of Policy Planning. [21] On September 1, 2017, Hook responded to the memo by acknowledging that the three countries did use child soldiers but said it was necessary to distinguish between governments "making little or no effort to correct their child soldier violations...and those which are making sincere—if as yet incomplete—efforts." [20]

On September 30, 2017, President Donald Trump waived the application of the CSPA for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan. [22]

See also

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References

  1. "All Actions—H.R.5966 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2006". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  2. "Cosponsors—S.1175 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  3. "Cosponsors—H.R.2620 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  4. "Cosponsors—H.R.3028 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  5. "Cosponsors—H.R.7311 - William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008". United States Congress. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 "All Actions—H.R.7311 - William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008". United States Congress. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  7. "H.R.2519 - To amend the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 to prohibit peacekeeping operations assistance to countries that recruit and use child soldiers". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  8. "Cosponsors—H.R.1191 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2017". United States Congress. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  9. Hogg, Charu Lata (March 28, 2016). "The Loophole That Lets the U.S. Government Fund the Use of Child Soldiers". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  10. 1 2 "Presidential Memorandum--Child Soldiers Prevention Act". White House. October 25, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  11. 1 2 3 Sheridan, Mary Beth (October 27, 2010). "Obama waiver allows U.S. aid to 4 countries using child soldiers". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Knowlton, Brian (October 28, 2010). "4 Nations With Child Soldiers Keep U.S. Aid". The New York Times. Washington. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  13. "Presidential Memorandum -- Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". White House. October 4, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  14. Rogin, Josh (October 5, 2011). "Congress strikes back against Obama's child soldiers' waivers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. "Presidential Memorandum -- Presidential Determination with respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". White House. September 28, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  16. "Presidential Determination-- Child Soldiers". White House. September 30, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  17. "Presidential Memorandum -- Determination with Respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". White House. September 30, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. "Presidential Determination and Memorandum -- Determination with Respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 and Delegation of Authority Under Section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". White House. September 29, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  19. 1 2 3 "Presidential Determinations with Respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, and Delegation of Authority Under Section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". White House. September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  20. 1 2 Szep, Jason; Spetalnick, Matt (November 20, 2017). "Exclusive - State Dept. revolt: Tillerson accused of violating U.S. law on child soldiers". Reuters. Washington. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  21. Koran, Laura (November 21, 2017). "State Dept employees protest exclusion of violators from child soldiers list". CNN. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  22. "Presidential Determination With Respect to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008". Federal Register. September 30, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.