Embassy Statement on Progress on the Prevention of Child Soldiers in Mali

The United States applauds recent actions taken to protect Malian children from involvement in armed conflict.  The agreement recently signed between Platform, a coalition of signatory movements, and the United Nations reflects well on the commitment to protect vulnerable children from being drawn into armed conflict and is evidence of the recognition that measures must be taken to prevent children from becoming victims of the insecurity facing Mali.

It is encouraging to see a growing consensus in Mali around the need to take concrete actions to fulfill Mali’s obligations to protect children both under Malian law and also in accordance with international agreements.  Past reporting from the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has highlighted the urgency of preventing recruitment of minor combatants, as well as preventing the use of children in support roles by the military or armed groups.  We are especially heartened to see the commitment by Platform to enforce these agreements and to undertake awareness campaigns to ensure the appropriate protection of children, as well as the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group (GATIA)’s recent communique pledging very clear actions to prevent the use and recruitment of children.

Mali’s children will face a brighter future if all parties continue to make progress on this issue.  Protecting children from involvement in armed conflict is an important indicator of Mali’s respect for human rights and this recent step demonstrates that Mali is moving in the right direction.