Friday, June 18, 2010
Thu, 17 Jun 2010 05:33:45 GMT
A US lawmaker says Washington may be in violation of the law by providing military assistance to the Somali government, which employs children as soldiers.
Somalia should not try to bring stability to the country "on the backs of its precious children and certainly not with the help of the American taxpayer," said Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois on Wednesday.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he noted that such assistance might violate the Child Soldier Prevention provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the New York Times reported.
The warning came as the United States is engaged in providing the Somali military with millions of dollars in arms and also pays the salaries of its soldiers.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting on child soldiers on the same day.
The UNSC issued a statement, expressing its "readiness to adopt targeted and graduated" sanctions against commanders who deploy under-age combatants.
"This is the first step," said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict.
"For the last two or three years, the Security Council has not focused on this issue. Now at least they are showing the readiness for sanctions."