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Children as Weapons of War; Okay says President ObamaAlysha Atma Salem-News.com African Affairs Correspondent
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - International Human Rights groups and organizations are outraged and left grappling for answers. Earlier this week President Obama gave four countries a year pass, a waiver for the use of child in war; Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Sudan, and Yemen.
In one momentary, sweeping act President Obama has undercut years of work and thousands of dollars spent in effort to protect children worldwide from this very traumatizing act.
In a quid pro quo, Yemen received the waiver in exchange for helping the United States (US) in its struggle against Al Qaeda, the same for Chad. DR Congo and Sudan were given the one year waiver so that they may have more time to rid their armies of this practice while continuing to strengthen their military forces with our monetary aid.
OkoNGO is responding with fierce criticism, “as a Congolese organization working with those seeking refuge in the US and those still struggling inside DR Congo we must ask President Obama to repeal immediately these waivers.
How can we build a peaceful future and ask our children to lead our nation when all they know is war. These children loose education, their childhood and innocence when they are busy killing and pillaging for the military.
This goes against everything we as refugees and Congolese American citizens have learned about American values and priorities. It is the responsibility of adults to keep their children safe, President Obama has taken that choice away from mothers and fathers.
He is telling the world it is OKAY to use children as weapons of war, it is OKAY to kidnap, it is OKAY use them as curriers, porters, sex slaves. What do we tell the parents inside DR Congo that look to the US for leadership, what do we tell the children who have to hide in the bush and in corners because they are frightened?
What do we tell the children that are being forced to take horrendous actions, that it OKAY you must wait another year before coming home, before you are safe?”
In the memo below President Obama states “National Interest” as his reason. In whose national interest does this benefit?
Presidential Memorandum--Child Soldiers Prevention Act
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Presidential Determination with Respect to Section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, pursuant to section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA), title IV of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110 457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA.
You are authorized and directed to submit this determination to the Congress, along with the accompanying memorandum of justification, and to publish it in the Federal Register.
Source: OkoNGO, www.okongo.org
Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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