President Obama grants waiver to South Sudan, others on child soldiers

FILE--In this Monday, July 25, 2016 file photo, a group of children at the U.N. protection of Civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, play with a toy gun. President Barack Obama has issued waivers that continue U.S. military assistance for troubled South Sudan and six other nations where child soldiers have been used. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch-file)

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – President Barack Obama has issued waivers that continue U.S. military assistance for troubled South Sudan and six other nations where child soldiers have been used.

The waivers disappoint advocates who say Obama’s administration hasn’t made curbing the use of children in combat a higher priority.

The waivers circumvent parts of the Child Soldier Prevention Act meant to block certain kinds of military assistance.

Waivers also have been granted to Somalia, Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Iraq and Myanmar.

The use of child soldiers is rampant in South Sudan, where civil war erupted in late 2013 and fighting continues despite a peace deal. The United Nations says around 16,000 child soldiers have been recruited.

A U.S. spokeswoman says the U.S. can use the possibility of a waiver to provide an incentive for reform.

 

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