UNICEF e-newsletter

Children forced to work in UAE are returned home

26 August 2005

There are happy endings, and UNICEF is working every day to make happy endings a reality for children around the globe.

That’s why we worked with the government of the United Arab Emirates to ban the use of children as camel jockeys in that country.

Camel racing is a popular sport in the UAE, and using children as jockeys has been a common practice. The children, as young as four years old, were sent by their families or trafficked from such countries as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Once in the UAE, the children were forced to work long and dangerous hours racing and caring for camels. Injuries resulting from falls and racing accidents were common. The long hours meant that most were deprived of any education.

Others were deprived of even more. “Sometimes I had enough to eat, and sometimes not,” one child worker told UNICEF. “They would hit us when we made mistakes.”

Such practices are a violation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UAE has ratified.

UNICEF advocated for the UAE government to enforce the principles of the Convention, and in May of this year the government banned the use of children under sixteen in all camel racing.

Now UNICEF has begun the process of bringing the exploited children home. In June, the first group of 22 children were returned to Pakistan. And this month, 36 Bangladeshi children were repatriated to their homes as a result of UNICEF’s efforts.

In the links on the right, you’ll see additional stories about UNICEF’s efforts, including a video report about the arrival home of the Bangladeshi camel jockeys and a radio program featuring a fifteen year old jockey from Pakistan.

We encourage you to watch the video, and to forward this email on to your friends and family, so they can watch it as well.

Because, thanks to your support of UNICEF, this story has a happy ending.

UNICEF
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Photo of Bangladeshi brothers.

© UNICEF Bangladesh/2005/Shehab
Abdullah (right), eight, and Ahmed (left), five, are brothers. They have been repatriated to Bangladesh after working as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates.

Video: Bangladeshi camel jockeys return home
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Audio: Child camel jockeys return to Pakistan

Related Links:
Camel jockeys returning home

36 Bangladeshi children repatriated from UAE

Child camel jockeys return to Pakistan

 

 
 

Below are more links that you may be interested in:

Photo Essay - Some 1.8 million people throughout Sudan’s Darfur region were forced to flee their homes, and have not been able to return. See how UNICEF and Sudan’s National Water Corporation are working to provide safe water and sanitation facilities for them.

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