Tuesday May 24, 2022

Pakistan’s inclusion in CSPA list a factual error: FO

July 03, 2021
Pakistan’s inclusion in CSPA list a factual error: FO

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected the ‘unsubstantiated and baseless’ inclusion of Pakistan in the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) List published in US State Department’s Annual Trafficking in Persons Report 2021.

The Foreign Office spokesperson, in a statement, said that Pakistan did not support any non-state armed group; nor any entity recruiting or using child soldiers. Pakistan’s efforts in fighting non-state armed groups including terrorist entities are well recognised, he added.

“The inclusion of Pakistan in the CSPA List depicts a factual error and lack of understanding. No state institution was consulted by the US prior to the publication of the report, nor were any details provided on the basis on which the conclusion was reached,” the spokesperson added.

Overall, he said, on the issue of Trafficking in Persons, Pakistan was committed to fighting this scourge both at the national and international levels. He said the country had taken a range of legislative and administrative actions in that regard during the last one year.

The measures included the approval of Rules under the domestic Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Acts; National Action Plan 2021-25 prepared jointly by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and enhancement of capacity building and inter-agency cooperation of Law Enforcement Agencies involved in anti-human smuggling.

He said Pakistan had been voluntarily submitting information for the TIP Report to the US Government since 2007 and has actively worked on implementing the practicable recommendations of these reports.

“Pakistan calls upon the authorities concerned in the United States to review the baseless assertions made in the TIP Report, especially with regard to the unwarranted inclusion of Pakistan in the CSPA List.”

The spokesperson said Pakistan also expected the sharing of ‘credible information’ on cases involving Trafficking in Persons as well as on allegations pertaining to support to armed groups using child soldiers.

He said Pakistan’s views and perspective on the subject had been conveyed to the US side. Pakistan would continue to remain engaged with the US government through bilateral channels for constructive dialogue on all issues of mutual interest. Earlier, the US has added Pakistan and Turkey for the first time to its Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list.

The designation is included in the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Person report that was launched on Thursday. The CSPA was first introduced in 2010. The countries placed on the list are subject to restrictions such as security assistance including sales of military equipment and even participation in peacekeeping missions, according to the State Department.

The department defined the Child Soldier term as any person under 18 years of age recruited or used in hostilities by armed forces distinct from the armed forces of a state. It also applies to a person who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces and who is serving in any capacity including a supportive role such as cook, messenger, guard, medic or sec slave.

Other foreign governments on the 2021 list include Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A range of sources are used to determine a country’s inclusion in the list, such as research, observations and reporting by US officials and UN entities, through various non-government organizations, and media reports.

The CSPA terms also advise that the restrictions will apply to the listed countries starting October this year and last the whole fiscal year, until and unless a presidential waiver or other exceptions are granted.