H.R.2620 - Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007
To end the use of child soldiers in hostilities around the world, and for other purposes.
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June 7, 2007
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. 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.'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(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.'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(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.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(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.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) Some military and militia commanders target children for recruitment because of their psychological immaturity and vulnerability to manipulation and indoctrination. Children are often separated from their families in order to foster dependence on military units and leaders. Consequently, many of these children suffer from deep trauma and are in need of psychological counseling and rehabilitation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) Child soldiers are exposed to hazardous conditions and are at risk of physical injury and disability, psychological trauma, sexually transmitted diseases, respiratory and skin infections, and often death.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) On May 25, 2000, the United Nations adopted and opened for signature, ratification, and accession the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (in this Act referred to as the `Optional Protocol'), which establishes 18 as the minimum age for conscription or forced recruitment and requires states party to ensure that members of their armed forces under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(12) On December 2, 1999, the United States ratified International Labour Convention 182, the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which includes the use of child soldiers among the worst forms of child labor.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) On October 7, 2005, the Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(14) It is in the national security interest of the United States to reduce the chances that members of the United States Armed Forces will be forced to encounter children in combat situations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(15) Section 502B(a)(3) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (
SEC. 3. CHILD SOLDIER DEFINED.
(2) includes any person described in subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) of paragraph (1) who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role such as a cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
(2) that the United States Government should support and, where practicable, lead efforts to establish and uphold international standards designed to end this abuse of human rights;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) offering ongoing psychological services to help victims recover from their trauma and relearn how to deal with others in nonviolent ways such that they are no longer a danger to their community;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) facilitating reconciliation with their communities through negotiations with traditional leaders and elders to enable recovered abductees to resume normal lives in their communities; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) that the United States should work with the international community, including, where appropriate, third country governments, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, United Nations agencies, local governments, labor unions, and private enterprise--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) on efforts to bring to justice rebel organizations that kidnap children for use as child soldiers, including the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), including, where feasible, by arresting the leaders of such groups; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) that the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Defense should coordinate programs to achieve the goals specified in paragraph (3), and in countries where the use of child soldiers is an issue, whether or not it is supported or sanctioned by the governments of such countries, United States diplomatic missions should include in their mission program plans a strategy to achieve the goals specified in such paragraph;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) that United States diplomatic missions in countries in which governments use or tolerate child soldiers should develop, as part of annual program planning, strategies to promote efforts to end this abuse of human rights; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) that, in allocating or recommending the allocation of funds or recommending candidates for programs and grants funded by the United States Government, United States diplomatic missions should give particular consideration to those programs and candidates deemed to promote the end to this abuse of human rights.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. PROHIBITION.
(a) In General- Subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d), none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available for international military education and training, foreign military financing, foreign military sales, direct commercial sales, or excess defense articles by the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006 (
(b) Notification to Countries in Violation of the Standards of This Act- The Secretary of State shall formally notify any government identified pursuant to subsection (a).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) WAIVER- The President may waive the application to a country of the prohibition in subsection (a) if the President determines that such waiver is in the interest of the United States.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) PUBLICATION AND NOTIFICATION- The President shall publish each waiver granted under paragraph (1) in the Federal Register and shall notify the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives of each such waiver, including the justification for the waiver, in accordance with the regular notification procedures of such Committees.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Reinstatement of Assistance- The President may provide to a country assistance otherwise prohibited under subsection (a) upon certifying to Congress that the government of such country--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) has implemented effective policies and mechanisms to prohibit and prevent future use of child soldiers and to ensure that no children are recruited, conscripted, or otherwise compelled to serve as child soldiers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The President may provide to a country assistance for international military education and training otherwise prohibited under subsection (a) upon certifying to Congress that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) the government of such country is implementing effective measures to demobilize child soldiers in its forces or in government supported paramilitaries and to provide demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration assistance to those former child soldiers; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) the assistance provided by the United States Government to the government of such country will go to programs that will directly support professionalization of the military.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. REPORTS.
(b) Information for Annual Human Rights Reports- In preparing those portions of the Human Rights Reports that relate to child soldiers, the Secretary of State shall ensure that such reports shall include a description of the use of child soldiers in each foreign country, including--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Inclusion of Information on Violations- When the Secretary of State determines that a government has violated the standards of this Act, the Secretary shall clearly indicate that fact in the relevant Annual Human Rights Report.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Letter to Congress- Not later than June 15 of each year for 10 years following the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF ACT.
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report setting forth a strategy for achieving the policy objectives of this Act, including a description of an effective mechanism for coordination of United States Government efforts to implement this strategy.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 8. TRAINING FOR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS.
`(c) The Secretary of State, with the assistance of other relevant officials, shall establish as part of the standard training provided after January 1, 2008, for officers of the Service, including chiefs of mission, instruction on matters related to child soldiers and the substance of the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007.'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink