U.N. Voices Concern on Child Soldiers in Somalia

HARGEISA, Somalia — As the United Nations Security Council expressed a “deep concern” on Wednesday over the continued use of child soldiers and a “readiness” to adopt sanctions against individuals who deploy them, an American lawmaker warned that the United States might have broken several laws by providing assistance to the Somali military, which uses children in conflict.

The United Nations lists the Somali government as one of the “most persistent violators” in the world of using child soldiers, and this week The New York Times documented several child soldiers, some as young as 12, toting assault rifles and working for the Somali transitional government in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

While the American government has expressed concern about the matter, it has given the Somali military millions of dollars in arms and paid soldiers’ salaries. On Wednesday, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said that assistance might violate the Child Soldier Prevention provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008; the Durbin-Coburn Child Soldiers Accountability Act; and the Durbin-Coburn Human Rights Enforcement Act.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/world/africa/17somalia.html

 
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