Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: End military funding to armies using child soldiers
American tax dollars are funding the worst child abuse imaginable. World Vision and the Washington Times both released reports that the US is giving military aid to militias using child soldiers. Two years ago, the Obama administration passed the Child Soldier Prevention Act, which restricts the US from funding the use of child soldiers. However, the administration has been using loopholes to fund these barbaric practices. President Obama has bypassed those restrictions in the name of “national interest” and given millions of dollars in military aid, explicitly supporting the use of children in violent armed conflict.
Child soldiers are subjected to unimaginable violence. It is estimated that about 250,000 children are being used in armed conflicts with funding from our government. These children are used as front-line combatants, suicide bombers, mine sweepers, and spies. Girls that are kidnapped are used as sex slaves. It is estimated that in the past decade, over 2 million children have been killed in armed conflict, and about 6 million have been injured or permanently disabled. These groups target the most vulnerable children to be kidnapped and abused. These children are separated from their family or caregiver, or have lost their family due to conflict and are orphaned, living on the street. The use of child soldiers thrives because of the tactics used by armed groups, the complicity of governments such as our own, the abundance of weapons, and a lack of work and educational opportunities.
Our national interest is not the funding of child soldiers. In order to create a world of peace, these children need safety and education, so they can build a future for their country. Tell President Obama to stop funding militaries that use child soldiers, and instead work towards the proven method of demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration.
Dear President Obama,
I am calling on your administration to stop giving military aid to armies using child soldiers. Two years ago, you passed the Child Soldier Prevention Act, an important step for protecting children in armed conflict. However, that progress was reversed because of your waivers to countries using child soldiers. These children are suffering from the worst child abuse imaginable, which is absolutely counter to our national interest. These children, some as young as 9 years old, have guns placed in their hands with the help of our tax dollars. Little girls are being raped every day through our funding. This is absolutely unacceptable.
Please end all funding to militaries using child soldiers. Uphold the Child Soldier Prevention Act to its fullest extent. The practice of demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration is truly what is best for these children and our national interest. If these children are able to get an education then they can contribute to the development of themselves and their country, instead of its violent destruction. Then we can be one step closer to peace.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pete Souza