Pardoned would-be child suicide bomber arrested for second attempt, child Somali pirates, and more...
Feb 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm
2 Boys With Suicide Vests Are Arrested in Afghanistan, New York Times, February 12, 2012
This past weekend, two 12-year-old boys equipped with suicide vests were arrested, less than one year after President Hamid Karzai had pardoned one of the two for an attempted suicide bombing. The boys were trained in Pakistani madrasas and one of the boys stated, similar to accounts of many other would-be child suicide bombers, that his teachers told him, "You won't be hurt; just go and carry out a suicide attack."
Child pirates are everybody's problem, The Globe and Mail, February 10, 2012
From child soldiers to child pirates in Somalia. This is an apparent natural transition in the strategy of non-state actors who have run out of ways to attract adults to fight for them. Piracy on the high seas has been a resurgent issue since the Somali civil war. With the increased use of children in these endeavors, multinational corporations that rely on these shipping lanes will have a tough time keeping their cargo safe and even a tougher time fighting back if protecting commerce increasingly means harming children.
Cracking Down on Human Trafficking in MS, WJTV.com, February 15, 2012
Support Mississippi Attorney General's efforts to make child trafficking a felony. The legislative change would also allow courts to treat underage prostitutes as victims rather than criminals, giving them access to psychological counseling and access to resources that would help them get back on their feet.
Afghan Insurgents Recruit Child Suicide Bombers, Voice of America, December 30, 2011
An interview with a very young would-be suicide bomber, Ali Ahmed, is telling. Ali is yet another proof that children are either outright forced to kill themselves or are indoctrinated into doing so. Yet, there is not enough push-back to get governments to stop this action wherever possible. The irony is that the continued use of child suicide bombers reaffirms the fact that the ideology behind many of the movements that recruit them is not successful in converting willing adults. That is, extremist beliefs are not selling in the "marketplace of ideas."
What Happened to the Child Soldier Prevention Act?
In an election year, it may be important to raise issues we care about and see which politicians are not only willing to address them but to show what they have done for a cause. In 2009, a bipartisan bill called the Child Soldier Prevention Act was passed. Its goal was to end U.S. military assistance of foreign governments that recruited children into any government sanctioned military activities. In 2009, the U.S. government was believed to be providing military assistance to at least five of the following six governments indirectly or directly involved in using children to fight for them:
Today, U.S. funds also assist the militaries of multiple non-Africa countries in conflict where child suicide bombings are regularly reported, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
Thus, monitoring for violations against the Child Soldier Prevention Act should be at the forefront of foreign policy debates this election year. It is the only proactive measure that provides both a short- and long-term policy in conflict zones: the reduction of foot soldiers from the field once minors are removed and the end of indoctrination of children into extremist ideologies.
President Barack Obama waived penalties against some countries such as Chad in 2010 and 2011 despite the Child Soldier Prevention Act.