Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Stop sexual abuse of young boys near military bases in Afghanistan by withholding government aid.
Sexual abuse of children, mainly adolescent boys, by Afghan militia is a common occurrence on and near U.S. military bases. Members of the American military have spoken out about the issue to their superiors but were told that it is simply a part of Afghan culture. It is illegal under federal law for the U.S. to give military assistance to countries where human rights are violated by the foreign security forces.
Bacha bazi, or “boy play,” is a common practice in Afghanistan. Abuse of children is prevalent, especially by men in positions of power for whom it is a display of social status. Several U.S. soldiers have reported witnessing these transgressions but were unable to do anything about it. According to the New York Times, a U.S. Marine shared with his father that the troops can hear the abused children screaming at night but are not allowed to help them.
Allowing this abuse to continue is not only immoral, it is potentially against the law. Under the Leahy Law, the U.S. cannot provide military aid to foreign allies who partake in a “gross violation of human rights.” Since these violations are committed by U.S. aided Afghan officials, the violations are in direct opposition to this law. The Leahy Law highlights an important aspect of U.S. aid distribution, namely that who support is given to, and their actions, are a reflection of U.S. values.
Aiding these men is as good as aiding their violations. The U.S. cannot prioritize political relations over the consideration of basic human rights, especially the rights of powerless children. Urge officials to immediately evaluate this situation under the Leahy Law and stop aid to Afghan officials who are committing child abuse.
Dear President Obama,
The U.S. is providing aid to Afghan officials who are openly committing sexual abuse of young boys. There have been several reports of this abuse, yet U.S. soldiers are told to ignore the issue as being a cultural difference. However, it is stated under federal law that our government cannot give aid to countries where officials violate human rights. Child sexual abuse is already a prevalent issue in Afghanistan, especially by those in positions of power. Supporting these men means allowing such gross human rights violations.
The countries we choose to give U.S. military aid are a direct reflection on America. The values, or lack of, that are displayed by the foreign countries we aid represent our own values to the rest of the world. It is essential that you immediately investigate these violations and enforce the Leahy Law by withdrawing aid to these violators of human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brandon L. Rodriguez