ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS SHAME ON US

According to the Amnesty International USA website, the Convention on the Rights of the Child that the UN adopted in November 1989 “is the only international treaty to guarantee civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights” of children. I mention this because of a disturbing reports in the newspapers and blogsphere.

In Somalia, both the Islamic insurgents and the weak transitional government use child soldiers, some as young as 9. What is disturbing is we, the United States, through our aid to the transitional government, are helping pay the salaries of the child soldiers fighting for the government.

193 countries have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Guess which two countries have not signed. You’re right, the United States and Somalia. I understand that the United States often refuses to sign international treaties for fear international laws will undermine our sovereignty. As some against the treated on the Child have suggested, we don’t want some foreigner telling American parents how to raise their children.

However, this doesn’t explain why the United States continues to give aid to a weak government that uses child soldiers.

The United States’s response has been that there will be an investigation as to whether the Somalia government is using child soldiers. Somalia, likewise, has promised to investigate and to stop the practice if it is found that child soldiers are being used.

In an earlier report, one Somalia official indicated that the government sorely needed troops to fight the insurgents and was using what was available.

I say shame on us, the United States, for supporting, even inadvertently, the practice of using child soldiers.

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