Little Indian recommend a site asking for a national call in to support The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007.
The day for that call has passed, but it is not too late to extend your support. Washington Watch states the latest major action was 4/24/2007. The full text of the Act (S. 1175) can be found here. The bill’s goal: “To end the use of child soldiers in hostilities around the world, and for other purposes.”
Here are a few excerpts of the congressional findings that prompted this bill.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) According to the September 7, 2005, report to the General Assembly of the United Nations by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, `In the last decade, two million children have been killed in situations of armed conflict, while six million children have been permanently disabled or injured. Over 250,000 children continue to be exploited as child soldiers and tens of thousands of girls are being subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence.’.
(2) According to the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO), Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, `The Child Soldier Phenomenon has become a post-Cold War epidemic that has proliferated to every continent with the exception of Antarctica and Australia.’.
(3) Many of the children currently serving in armed forces or paramilitaries were forcibly conscripted through kidnapping or coercion, a form of human trafficking, while others joined military units due to economic necessity, to avenge the loss of a family member, or for their own personal safety.
(4) Some military and militia commanders force child soldiers to commit gruesome acts of ritual killings or torture, including acts of violence against other children.
(5) Many female child soldiers face the additional psychological and physical horrors of rape and sexual abuse, enslavement for sexual purposes by militia commanders, and severe social stigma should they return home.
This bill would limit US military financing, training and arms transfers to governments that are involved in the recruitment and use of child soldiers. I don’t care what side of the political table you’re on, the use of child soldiers is not a republican or democrat issue. It’s a common sense human rights issue. Call your congressman in support of this bill.
Find your senators’ phone numbers at: www.senate.gov
Senators who have already co-sponsored the bill (as of July 2, 2007):
Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Brownback (R-KS), Casey (D-PA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Reed (D-RI), Roberts (R-KS), Snow (R-ME).