US has added Pakistan and Turkey to Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list on Thursday, a designation that may result in harsh penalties on military aid and listed nations’ involvement in peacekeeping missions.
The classification is part of the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which assigns nations to different categories based on their efforts to combat trafficking.
The US Child Soldiers Prevention Act mandates that a list of foreign countries that recruited or employed child soldiers in the preceding year be included in the annual TIP report (April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021). Armed forces, police, other security forces, and government-supported armed organisations are among the entities scrutinised for this classification.
Afghanistan, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, and Yemen are among the nations on the CSPA list for 2021.
Sanctions on military assistance and participation in peacekeeping operations may be imposed as a result of the designation.
Since 2010, when the designation began, three of these nations — Congo, Somalia, and Yemen — have appeared on every CSPA list. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Burma, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria are among the nine countries that have featured more than once in the past ten years.
In 2010, six countries were named on the inaugural CSPA list.
Ten years later, the list had grown to 14 nations, and by 2021, it had grown to 15 – the most countries ever recognised in a single year. This year’s list contains repeat offenders, two new entrants — Pakistan and Turkey — and several previously banned countries making a comeback.
The phrase “child soldier” is defined as any individual under the age of 18 who takes a direct role in hostilities as a member of the government’s armed forces, police, or other security forces, according to a statement released by the State Department in Washington.
Those who have been compelled to join the government’s armed forces, police, or other security forces, as well as those under the age of 15 who have voluntarily joined the government’s armed forces, police, or other security forces, are included.
A child soldier is a person under the age of 18 who has been recruited or employed in hostilities by armed forces other than the military forces of a state.
A person serving in any capacity, including a support function, such as a “chef, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave,” is referred to as a “child soldier.”
The CSPA forbids specified countries from participating in US programmes such as international military education and training, foreign military financing, excess defence articles, and peacekeeping missions. Some programmes that are carried out under the auspices of the UN Peacekeeping Operations are excluded.
The CSPA also bans the granting of licences to such governments for direct commercial sales of military equipment.
These limitations will apply to the following nations beginning October 1, 2021, and lasting through Fiscal Year 2022, unless they obtain a presidential waiver, appropriate exemption, or restoration of aid under the provisions of the CSPA.
The decision to add a government to the CSPA list is based on a variety of factors, including firsthand observation by US government personnel, as well as research and credible reporting from various UN entities, international organisations, local and international NGOs, and international and domestic media outlets.