Thursday, October 06, 2005

Return of child jockeys slow :: GN

Steady though slow process is being made to locate and repatriate child camel jockeys working in the UAE. It's much more than lipservice. But mistakes of the past encumber the effort.

Some quotes from the Gulf News report:

The UAE is the first country in the region to sign an international agreement to rehabilitate and repatriate child jockeys to their home countries.
. . .
The UAE authorities began repatriating the underage jockeys in March. They come from Bangladesh, Sudan and Mauritania, but the majority are from Pakistan.
. . .
About 40 former child camel jockeys from Pakistan are now being sent to an orphanage in Islamabad because they cannot remember their parents' names.
. . .
"About 40 Pakistani children have forgotten who their parents are and where they lived," said Imran Haider, Head of Chancery at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi,who is responsible for repatriation of children to Pakistan.
. . .
He said reuniting the children with families is a very long and difficult process. "Many children left home many years ago and don't know their parents," he said. "Sometimes DNA tests are also conducted on parents to determine their parentage."
. . .
Haider said although there are no exact figures available, there are about 3,000 child camel jockeys in the UAE and about 70 per cent of them are Pakistanis. "We have already sent 418 children during the last few months and 100 more are in the pipeline," he said. Another batch of 24 children will be ready to leave for Pakistan next week.



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