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ACTION ALERT: Stop US Military Support to Countries Using Child Soldiers


April 1, 2008
Oxfam America.org

Governments around the world are using children as young as 7 as frontline solders, porters, and spies. The UN estimates that 250,000 children are actively involved in armed conflicts.In many cases, the US is providing military financing, training, and weapons to the very governments that recruit and use child soldiers. A bipartisan bill to curb this military aid could reach the Senate this month. Your action today is critical.

http://act.oxfamamerica.org/campaign/childsoldiers/w5s7iswr2mxdknn?

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2008) — The horror of war can be traumatic for any soldier. Its psychological scars can last a lifetime.

Imagine if children as young as 7 were forced to fight.

Right now, governments around the world are using children as frontline solders, porters, and spies. The UN estimates that 250,000 children are actively involved in armed conflicts.

In many cases, the US is providing military financing, training, and weapons to the very governments that recruit and use child soldiers.

A bipartisan bill to curb this misguided military aid could see movement in the Senate this month, and your action today is critical.

Most of the countries perpetuating this problem rely on US military aid —when that aid is threatened, it can provide governments a powerful incentive to change their ways. That's why this bill has the potential to make a significant difference.

Children should not be forced to endure the terrors of war. Please take action today to end this deplorable practice.

Right now, governments around the world are using children as frontline soldiers, porters, and spies. The UN estimates that hundreds of thousands of children are actively involved in armed conflicts. A bipartisan bill to curb misguided US military aid to these countries could see movement in the Senate this month, and your action today is critical.

• Tell Congress to stop US military support to countries using child soldiers.


The Letter
Right now, governments around the world are using children as frontline solders, porters, and spies. The UN estimates that 250,000 children are actively involved in armed conflicts. In many cases, the US is providing military financing, training, and weapons to the very governments that recruit and use child soldiers.

As one of your constituents, I am writing to ask that you co-sponsor S. 1175, the Child Soldier Prevention Act. If you are already a co-sponsor, please encourage your colleagues to join with you. Senators Durbin and Brownback have introduced the bill to encourage governments to disarm, demobilize, and rehabilitate child soldiers from government forces and government-supported militias.

Most of the countries perpetuating this problem rely on US military aid-when that aid is threatened, it can provide governments a powerful incentive to change their ways. That's why this bill has the potential to make a significant difference.

Children should not be forced to endure the terrors of war. Please take action today to end this deplorable practice.

Thank you for your support.



Help Support Oxfam’s Child Soldiers Campaign
Raymond C. Offenheiser / Oxfam America Advocacy Fund

(March 26, 2008) — The US government is sending arms to countries that use child soldiers. Right now, children as young as eight are being forced to fight and die as soldiers in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo and the border of Darfur and Chad.

They are at the mercy of governments and militias who have no qualms about using them as front-line soldiers, mine sweepers, and spies.

As Americans, we have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to put a stop to this brutal practice. The Oxfam America Advocacy Fund is pushing for a bill to sharply curtail military aid from the United States to countries that use child soldiers.

We've sent tens of thousands of letters to Congress in the past two weeks, but we need the resources to step up our efforts – and to continue our critical advocacy on behalf of poor people around the world. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in the next two weeks. Can you help?

Donate to the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund today.

The opportunity for us to make an impact for child soldiers is as vast as the scale of this problem: the UN estimates that the number of children actively involved in armed conflicts is in the hundreds of thousands.

Child soldiers witness unspeakable atrocities. They may even be forced to commit violence against their own families or neighbors, to ensure they aren't tempted to escape and return home. They may be raped or recruited as "brides" for officers.

Right now, the US sends massive amounts of military aid – including weapons and equipment – to countries that use child soldiers. Cutting off or reducing that aid is a key way to influence these countries to stop exploiting these vulnerable children.

To compel the US to restrict aid to these countries, Oxfam is working for the passage of the Child Soldier Prevention Act, part of an international trafficking bill now in Congress. It's just part of the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund's broader ongoing efforts to defend people whose rights and livelihoods are in jeopardy – and we can't do any of it without you.

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