“Pursuant to section 404 of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) (title IV, Public Law 110-457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Chad, South Sudan, and Yemen; to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow for continued provision of International Military Education and Training (IMET) and nonlethal Excess Defense Articles, and the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles; and to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Somalia to allow for the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles, provision of IMET, and continued provision of assistance under the Peacekeeping Operations authority for logistical support and troop stipends. I hereby waive such provisions accordingly. You are authorized and directed to submit this determination to the Congress, along with the accompanying Memorandum of Justification, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register, “ US President Barack Obama wrote in a memo to the US Secretary of State on September 30, 2013.
The decision by US President Barack immediately slaps sanctions against other countries listed by the US Government as violating the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CPSA). The 2013 CSPA List includes governments in the following countries: 1. Burma, 2. Central African Republic (CAR), 3. Chad, 4. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 5. Rwanda, 6. Somalia, 7. South Sudan, 8. Sudan, 9. Syria
Hence, the countries slapped by the sanctions include: Burma, Central African Republic, Chad, Rwanda, and Syria.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CPSA) is meant to bar the United States from providing military assistance to countries who have “governmental armed forces or government- supported armed groups, including paramilitaries, militias, or civil defense forces, that recruit and use child soldiers”.
The Rwandan government is sanctioned for recruiting, arming, and sending child soldiers into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to fight alongside the M23 Congolese rebels.
The US Government said in the Trafficking in Persons Report of 2013 the following: “In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), several hundred former members of a militia group notorious for its use of child soldiers defected from the Congolese military (FARDC) and formed the M23, a Rwanda-backed armed group that forcibly recruited children in DRC and Rwanda to fight the FARDC for control of eastern DRC. Some progress was made to end impunity for the worst offenders of unlawful child soldier recruitment and use. Bosco Ntaganda, a former FARDC commander who is the subject of two arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the recruitment and use of children under the age of 15. In March, after nearly seven years as a fugitive from justice, Ntaganda voluntarily surrendered to the ICC. He made his first appearance in front of the court in March 2013.”
Besides, according to the US Government, “in Rwanda, women and children in refugee camps are vulnerable to being lured into forced prostitution in the capital or other countries in the region through false promises of work or schooling opportunities.”
Although the financial aid to be withheld only amounts to $500,000 in training programs for the Rwandan army, the decision itself is very important and may signal more to come, given the fact that the US report is based on the UN Group of Experts report published in July 2013, which accused Rwandan government of continuing its support to the M23 Congolese rebels.
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