US waiving penalties for use of child soldiers

October 29, 2010 02:27

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has decided to exempt Yemen and three African countries that use child soldiers from US penalties under the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act.

The move was criticized by human rights organizations.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, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Yemen. He instructed Clinton to submit the decision to the Congress with a written justification for the move.

Obama's memo, released by the White House on Monday, did not include the justification. Administration officials have said that continuing close cooperation with the countries can be a more effective way of changing their practices.

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