United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section E. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
The US Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (2004), in Title VII—Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations; Subtitle A—Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, and the Military in the War on Terrorism, states:
Sec. 7104. Assistance for Afghanistan.
(h) UNITED STATES POLICY TO SUPPORT DISARMAMENT OF PRIVATE MILITIAS AND EXPANSION OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING AND SECURITY OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN.—
(1) UNITED STATES POLICY RELATING TO DISARMAMENT OF PRIVATE MILITIAS.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—It shall be the policy of the United States to take immediate steps to provide active support for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of armed soldiers, particularly child soldiers, in Afghanistan, in close consultation with the President of Afghanistan.
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the United States stated:
The United States has contributed substantial resources to international programs aimed at preventing the recruitment of children and reintegrating child ex-combatants into society and is committed to continue to develop rehabilitation approaches that are effective in addressing this serious and difficult problem. The United States applies a definition of child ex-combatants in keeping with the Cape Town Principles of 1997, which cover any child associated with fighting forces in any capacity, whether or not he or she ever bore arms. In this regard, United States programming adopts a broad approach by seeking to include all children affected by armed conflict rather than singling out for separate services former child combatants. It also espouses the principle that family reunification and community reintegration are both goals and processes of recovery for former child combatants. United States programming aimed at assisting children affected by war addresses the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and integration into civilian society of former child combatants; the prevention of recruitment of children; and the recovery and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, including activities to identify separated children, protect them from harm, provide appropriate interim care, carry out tracing for family reunification, arrange alternate care for children who cannot be reunited, reform their legal protections and facilitate community reintegration. The Protocol serves as a means for encouraging such programs and constitutes an important tool for increasing assistance to children who are affected by armed conflict.