On December 23, the United States ratified an international treaty banning the forced recruitment of children under the age of eighteen, or their use in armed conflict. Human Rights Watch has worked for several years to gain US support for this treaty. The United States initially opposed an 18-year minimum age for combat, and in the past has sent 17-year old troops into armed conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia and the Gulf War. A campaign led by Human Rights Watch helped influence the Pentagon to change its deployment practices to exclude 17-year-old soldiers from direct combat roles. After the treaty's signature by President Clinton in July 2000, Human Rights Watch led advocacy efforts to gain support for the treaty within the United States Senate, which unanimously gave its support for ratification in June 2002.