U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside the ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo)
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A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal government documents reviewed by Reuters.A confidential State Department "dissent" memo not previously reported said Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act when he decided in June to exclude Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers. The dissenting U.S. officials stressed that Tillerson's decision to exclude Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar went a step further than the Obama administration's waiver policy by contravening the law and effectively easing pressure on the countries to eradicate the use of child soldiers.Tillerson's decision to remove Iraq and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, from the list and reject a recommendation by U.S. officials to add Afghanistan was announced in the release of the government's annual human trafficking report on June 27 .Six days earlier, a previously unreported memo emailed to Tillerson from a range of senior diplomats said the three countries violated the law based on evidence gathered by U.S. officials in 2016 and recommended that he approve them for the new list.
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