Call for crack­down on Afghan child sex slav­ery

The Myanmar Times - - World -

US law­mak­ers are press­ing Wash­ing­ton to get tough on in­sti­tu­tion­alised sex­ual slav­ery of boys by Afghan forces, with some in­vok­ing a hu­man rights law that pro­hibits Amer­i­can aid to for­eign mil­i­tary units com­mit­ting such vi­o­la­tions.

The call fol­lows an AFP re­port in June which re­vealed the Tal­iban are ex­ploit­ing the en­trenched practice of pae­dophilic bacha bazi – lit­er­ally “boy play” – in the Afghan po­lice to mount deadly in­sider at­tacks in the coun­try’s volatile south.

The rev­e­la­tion prompted Con­gress­man Dun­can Hunter to de­mand US De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter take “im­me­di­ate steps to stop child rape” amid an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary pres­ence in Afghanistan.

The Depart­ment of De­fense replied to Mr Hunter last week, stat­ing in a let­ter seen by AFP that it was com­mit­ted to hold­ing per­pe­tra­tors ac­count­able.

Many had ex­pressed shock over me­dia re­ports sug­gest­ing the US mil­i­tary had dis­ci­plined Amer­i­can per­son­nel who tried to in­ter­vene to stop bacha bazi abuse, and urged SIGAR to fo­cus on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the so-called Leahy Law.

The 1997 law, named after Se­na­tor Pa­trick Leahy, pro­hibits US as­sis­tance to al­lied for­eign mil­i­tary and po­lice units against whom cred­i­ble ev­i­dence of grave hu­man vi­o­la­tions ex­ists.

The fresh call to ap­ply the law comes ahead of a cru­cial donor con­fer­ence on Afghanistan in Brus­sels in Oc­to­ber. The coun­try re­mains heav­ily de­pen­dent on international fi­nan­cial and mil­i­tary as­sis­tance.

The an­cient cus­tom of bacha bazi, seen as a cul­tur­ally sanc­tioned form of male rape, re­mains wide­spread in Afghanistan. – PRES­I­DENT Maithri­pala Sirisena has pleaded for more time to bring about rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and en­sure ac­count­abil­ity seven years after Sri Lanka’s eth­nic war that claimed 100,000 lives.

Mr Sirisena said he urged United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon dur­ing talks last week to be pa­tient with his ad­min­is­tra­tion which came to power in Jan­uary last year on a prom­ise of peace and eth­nic unity.

“I told him not to be in a hurry. Be pa­tient – give me some more time to re­build my coun­try,” he said.

Speak­ing at the 65th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of his Sri Lanka Free­dom Party in the north­west­ern town of Ku­rune­gala, Mr Sirisena said he has man­aged to end the coun­try’s international pariah sta­tus since com­ing to power in Jan­uary last year.

Sri Lanka had faced international cen­sure after his pre­de­ces­sor Mahinda Ra­japakse insisted that not a sin­gle civil­ian was killed by troops un­der his com­mand.

Mr Ra­japakse also re­fused to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that up to 40,000 mi­nor­ity Tamil civil­ians per­ished in the fi­nal stages of the war in 2009. More than 100,000 peo­ple were killed in the con­flict be­tween 1972 and 2009.

Ear­lier this year, Mr Sirisena pledged to pro­vide state land to those af­fected by the war and un­able to go back to their own homes which were ei­ther de­stroyed in the war or are still oc­cu­pied by the mil­i­tary. –

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