(WASHINGTON) — In a move criticized by human rights organizations, the Obama administration has decided to exempt Yemen and three other countries that use child soldiers from U.S. penalties under the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act.
In a memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama said he had determined that “it is in the national interest of the United States” to waive application of the law to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Yemen. He instructed Clinton to submit the decision to the Congress with a written justification for the move.(See pictures of child soldiers around the world.)
Obama’s memo, released by the White House on Monday, did not include the justification. Administration officials have said, however, that cutting off military aid to those four countries as required by the law would do more harm than good. And they have said that continuing close cooperation with them can be a more effective way of changing their practices.
Jo Becker, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, said Obama had supported the legislation when he was in the Senate.
“This is a ground breaking law,” she said. “This is the first year it has taken effect and he’s undercutting it.”
[Note: Blindness is listed as one the consequences of Yemeni children working with pesticides in agriculture!]
JAMAL AL-JABERI | SANA’A, YEMEN – Aug 11 2010 13:02
After their father died two years ago, Raseel and Anwar left their family to work in a car garage, joining the millions of Yemeni children forced into the impoverished country’s labour market.
Eleven-year-old Raseel al-Khameri and his eight-year-old mute brother, Anwar, spend their days working in the garage in Sana’a in an attempt to sustain a needy family in the village of al-Akhmoor, 300km south of the capital.
“I work day and night. You’ll find me here [in the workshop] anytime from 9am until 4am,” Raseel says shyly, as his small hands skilfully work with various car parts.
With an innocent smile never leaving his face, little Anwar closely follows his older brother’s moves as he also tries to master the job.
A study carried out in 2010 by the United States-based aid group CHF International revealed that out of Yemen’s 11-million children, five million are currently employed.
Three-fifths of those do not receive an education while the remaining two million both study and work at the same time.
CHF said that 40% of Yemeni children are drawn into the labour market between the ages of seven and 13.
CHF said that 80% of those children are involved in hazardous and arduous jobs, while more than 60% use dangerous tools and over 30% said that they were injured or have fallen ill due to their jobs.… Read the rest
Yemen Observer: http://www.yobserver.com
Posted in: Reports
Written By: Fatima al-Aghbari
Article Date: Aug 26, 2010 – 4:54:28 AM
The child labor phenomenon in Yemen has worsened since the 1960s because of the economic deterioration and high rates of poverty, as field studies have shown.
(Saba)- The socialists see that the aggravation of this phenomenon is also linked to the early marriage problem.
Deteriorating economic situations in Yemen, especially in light of the global economic crisis and the accompanying high prices and the individuals› low income, plays a significant role in the growth the of child labor phenomenon.
In recent years, the phenomenon has significantly exacerbated as many children started flocking to the labor market to work in different areas such as restaurants, auto repair shops, construction sites and selling items in streets amongst other work.
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