• Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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US includes Pakistan in ‘child soldier recruiter’ list

Representational image (iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

THE US has included Pakistan and 14 other countries in its list of Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) for having government-supported armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers.

Such a designation could result in restrictions on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.

The CSPA requires publication in the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report a list of foreign governments who have recruited or used child soldiers during the previous year.

Other countries added to the annual TIP list of the US State Department are Turkey, Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

According to the State Department, the foreign governments included in the list are subject to restrictions on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.

These restrictions will apply to the listed countries from October 1 and remain effective throughout the fiscal year 2022.

The term ‘child soldier’ means any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities or who has been compulsorily recruited into governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces.

It also means any person under 15 years of age who has been voluntarily recruited into governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces.

The definition also includes any person who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role, such as a cook, porter, messenger, medic or guard.

The decision on the inclusion of foreign governments in the CSPA list is based on information derived from a range of sources, including first-hand observation by US government personnel, credible reporting from various UN entities, NGOs and international and domestic media outlets.

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