Pakistan ‘Categorically’ Rejects Inclusion Into US’ Child Soldiers Prevention Act List

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

03rd Jul, 2021. 09:06 am
Pakistan 'Categorically' Rejects Inclusion Into US' Child Soldiers Prevention Act List

Pakistan Foreign Office has “categorically” rejected inclusion into US’ Child Soldiers Prevention Act List and said the move was “unsubstantiated and baseless” and urged Washington to The State Department’s annual report in 2021 should review the baseless allegations levelled against Pakistan.

The United States on Thursday added Pakistan and Turkey to the list of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act, which could lead to tougher sanctions on military aid and peacekeeping.

The U.S. Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) publishes an annual list of foreign governments that recruited or used underage soldiers during the previous year (April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021).

The agencies reviewed include the armed forces, police, other security forces and pro-government armed groups.

The list of countries recruiting 2021 underage soldiers includes the governments of Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.

Expressing resentment at the US move, the Pakistan foreign office said that no government agency had been consulted by the US prior to the publication of the report and no details had been provided on the basis of which this conclusion was reached.

The statement emphasized that Pakistan did not support any non-state armed group, nor did any organization recruit or use underage soldiers, including non-state elements and armed groups, including terrorist organizations. Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terrorism have been recognized and Pakistan is committed to fighting this scourge nationally and internationally.

“Over the past year, we have taken a number of legislative and administrative measures in this regard, including the Anti-Human Trafficking of Persons, Forced Recruitment and Refugee Trafficking Act, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA),” a statement from the Foreign Office said. The National Action Plan 25-2021, jointly developed by the FIA ​​and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, aims to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking.

In this regard, it was also pointed out that Pakistan has been voluntarily providing information to the US Government for the TIP report since 2007 and is constantly working to implement the practical recommendations of this information.

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan has asked the relevant authorities in the United States to reconsider the baseless allegations made in the TIP report, especially on Pakistan’s undue inclusion in the list of underage recruits.

The statement said Pakistan expects to provide “credible information” on allegations of human trafficking, forced recruitment and support for armed groups using underage youth.

It said that US officials had been briefed on Pakistan’s views and perspectives on the issue and that Pakistan would continue to hold talks with the US government through bilateral channels for constructive dialogue on all issues of mutual interest.

The first CSPA list published in 2010 identified six governments. Ten years later, the list has doubled to 14 and 15 in 2021, the largest number in any single year.

In addition to the countries already becoming part of this year’s list, two new countries, namely Pakistan and Turkey, were added and the countries that were previously removed from the list were added again.

The CSPA barred listed countries from participating in the following U.S. programs: International Multi-Education and Training, Foreign Multi-Financing, Axis Defense Articles, and Peacekeeping Operations. Has been declared an exception.

The CSPA prevents these governments from directly licensing the commercial sale of military equipment.

Note that, any person who is 18 years of age and has been recruited or used in hostilities in the armed forces of the state or in various other forces shall be considered a child soldier or a minor soldier.

The term “young soldier” or “child soldier” applies to anyone who, in any way, acts as a helper, such as a cook, porter, messenger, nurse, guard or sex slave.

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