31 January, 2006

Eagle's Eye: Camel jockeys in Emirates

Link: Central Chronicle--Opinion


Anonymous said...

Hello all

I have read the article, I am a citizen of the UAE and we own a camel farm, to make things clear that the kids are not smuggled from their country to work as jockeys here in the UAE their parents ask us the local to make their children work, since their working families comes from a poor background believe or not those young jockeys are forced by their parents, I know that other country see's this savagely act by the UAE locals on the other hand these kids are highly trained for camel riding and working for them meant that they will be able to survive and able to fund their studies

secretdubai said...

working for them meant that they will be able to survive and able to fund their studies

I'm afraid I call bullshit on this. I'm actually one of the more open minded people on child labour, I'm not universally against it, if conditions are right. My issues with camel jockeys in the UAE are:

1. The children are ludicrously young, sometimes as young as two years old. There should be a minimum starting age of around 9/10 - when the child is at least aware of what they are doing.

2. As you mention, the children are "forced". Doesn't matter whether it's by their parents or by you. They should have a choice as to whether they work or not.

3. The children are treated like shit. They don't have proper accommodation at most of the farms here, nor do they receive any schooling. They return to their home countries illiterate, with no thought or consideration for their future care or progress.

4. Shoving them back in the subcontinent. If you bring a young child here, have them work for you for most of their childhood, during which time they learn Arabic and forget their native language (in many cases) then they should have the option to stay and be naturalised. ie receive citizenship here.

So if you want to use child labour, then treat them as Sheikh Mohammed would treat Frankie Dettori. Pay them well, treat them well, and consider their future care. Anything else is inhumane.

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