Jan 152015
 

At least 300,000 children are now being used to fight armed conflicts in more than 20 Third World countries including South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of these soldiers are boys and girls between 15 and 18 years old but some are as young as 9. Child advocates say the longer a conflict lasts, the greater chance children will be recruited or forced to fight in it. Children are used as soldiers because they are cheap, expendable and easy to influence. Child soldiers carry supplies and are used as spies and sentries in addition to laying mines and fighting. Female child soldiers are often sexually abused. Many children are abducted and forced to join militias but some join because of poverty, alienation or dislike of the government. Sometimes schools, villages and farms are destroyed to remove options other than fighting for these children. In 2008, we passed the Child Soldiers Protection Act that criminalizes military forces which recruit and use children for fighting -but this legislation hasn’t had much effect in Africa. Some non-government organizations that are active in this cause have had success preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. They have also succeeded in securing their demobilization and assisting their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current child soldier policy

I support efforts, including financial aid to non-government groups, to assist in reducing or eliminating the use of children as soldiers

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are now at least 220 million child laborers worldwide. About 13 million of these children work in India. These are young children between the ages of 5 and 14 working full time in adult occupations. As many as 300,000 children, some as young as 5 years old, work making carpets in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Morocco. These children work long hours but are paid very little. Many are not allowed to attend school and many suffer vision and respiratory problems from this painstaking work. Most of these hand-tied wool carpets are exported to Western nations. Human rights advocates say the only way to discourage child labor is to boycott products made by children. These advocates now certify carpets with the GoodWeave label, which consumers can find on carpets that that have not been produced with exploitative child labor. However, the use of child labor exists in many other nations and industries. Cocoa and mine workers in Africa, electronics workers in China, silk weavers and textile workers in India, and agricultural industries in most developing countries all use exploitative child labor. Advocates claim this situation exists because labor standards, including those for child workers, are not subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) regulation. They claim WTO’s “free trade” rules prohibit the consideration of child labor standards in trade legislation. This is because countries that would ban the importation of products made with child labor could be accused of enacting barriers to trade and be subject to retaliation. Advocates disagree, arguing that worker rights such as collective bargaining, freedom of association and the elimination of abuse and discrimination in the workplace are matters for WTO consideration. Some third-world governments believe Western nations are using the issue of child labor standards to protect their own industries. They claim efforts to bring labor standards into the WTO represent a smokescreen for undermining the comparative advantage of lower-wage developing countries.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current child workers policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the World Trade organization to establish international child labor standards, including laws that protect collective bargaining, freedom of association and elimination of workplace abuse and discrimination, as well as setting school attendance requirements for working children

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Sudan’s government is responsible for supporting raids into Southern Sudan to kidnap and enslave Dinka women and children as well as members of other ethnic groups. These captives, many of them Christians, are sold to Northern Sudanese households, forced to convert to Islam, and compelled to work as laborers, servants and concubines. These people are offered for sale in Sudan’s slave markets for as little as $10. One recent account describes Sudanese slavery as a result of hostilities between Islamists to the north and those in the south, many of whom are Christian converts, saying “The Arab slave-takers pick their victims based on race, ethnicity and religion and consider the blacks in the South to be inferior infidels.” Many tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been abducted. In 2008, it was estimated that at least 35,000 people were enslaved on the borderland of Northern and Southern Sudan. Abductions continue to this present day. A few non-government organizations have established slave buyback programs which have freed a number of the enslaved. However, others warn that paying ransoms for kidnapped people will only encourage and enable more kidnappings.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1692 – Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Sudanese slavery policy and wish to defeat H.R.1692

I support directing the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to end serious human rights violations in Sudan and to promote comprehensive peace and democratic reform by imposing sanctions on any person or government that: has assisted Sudan in the commission of serious human rights violations including selling, leasing, or transferring military equipment to Sudan that contributes to serious human rights violations; is interfering or has interfered with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Sudan; is impeding the peace process or threatening the stability of any part of Sudan or the region; failed to execute an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against any Sudanese official if such person or government had the jurisdictional authority to execute the warrant and failed to make the arrest without reasonable justification, and wish to pass H.R.1692

 Posted by at 12:00 am