Washington, July 2: The United States has added Pakistan and Turkey to its Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list, a designation that could lead to sanctions on military assistance to the listed countries.

The designation is included in US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. The report ranks countries in various tiers in accordance with their efforts to eliminating trafficking, Dawn reported. Pakistan Urges US to Get it Off FATF Grey List at Beijing Meeting.

The CSPA list consists of foreign governments that have recruited or used child soldiers. The entities reviewed for this designation include armed forces, police, other security forces and government-supported armed groups. Six governments were identified on the first CSPA list in 2010. This year the number of the countries on the list have reached 15, the highest so far.

The 2021 CSPA list includes governments of the following countries: Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.

Three of these countries -- Congo, Somalia, and Yemen -- have appeared on every CSPA list since 2010, when the designation started. Nine others -- Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Burma, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria -- have appeared more than once over the last 10 years. Pakistan and Turkey are a new addition to the list.

The statement, issued by the State Department in Washington, defines the term "child soldier" as: Any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces.

The CSPA prohibits listed governments in the following US programmes: International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defence Articles, and Peacekeeping Operations. Some programmes undertaken pursuant to the Peacekeeping Operations authority, are exempted.

The CSPA also prohibits the issuance of licences for direct commercial sales of military equipment to such governments. Beginning October 1, 2021, and effective throughout Fiscal Year 2022, these restrictions will apply to the listed countries, except those who receive a presidential waiver, applicable exception, or reinstatement of assistance pursuant to the terms of the CSPA.

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