Employees of the U.S. State Department claim Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, "when he decided to exclude Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan from a U.S. list of offenders regarding the use of child soldiers," according to Newsweek.
Documents reviewed by Reuters also show Tillerson’s decision was at odds with a unanimous recommendation by the heads of the State Department’s regional bureaus overseeing embassies in the Middle East and Asia, the U.S. envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the department’s human rights office and its own in-house lawyers. [tmsnrt.rs/2Ah6tB4] “Beyond contravening U.S. law, this decision risks marring the credibility of a broad range of State Department reports and analyses and has weakened one of the U.S. government's primary diplomatic tools to deter governmental armed forces and government-supported armed groups from recruiting and using children in combat and support roles around the world,” said the July 28 memo.
Senator Ben Cardin said Tillerson's waiver," sent a powerful message to these countries that they were receiving a pass on their unconscionable actions.”
Ben Cardin, ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to Tillerson on Friday saying there were “serious concerns that the State Department may not be complying” with the law and that the secretary’s decision “sent a powerful message to these countries that they were receiving a pass on their unconscionable actions.”
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