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UAE officially closes dossier on child camel jockeys rehabilitation

posted on 06/06/2012: 3950 views



UAE has formally closed the dossier to compensate and rehabilitate the child camel jockeys who once participated in the racing events in the country.

The announcement was made by the Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Shafar at the final meeting of the Special Committee for follow-up compensation and rehabilitation of the child camel jockeys, who had already been repatriated to their home countries.

The meeting held at the Hotel Rocco Forte in Abu Dhabi was attended by Dr. Ibrahim Jawdat Zik, Representative of the UNICEF in the GCC, Major General Nasser Lakhraibani Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Major General Nasser Al Awadhi Al Menhali Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency and Chairman of the Committee for follow-up the compensation programme, a number of other senior officials, ambassadors, representatives of fraternal and friendly countries including Sudan, Mauritania, Pakistan and Bangladesh, representatives from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works.

Lt. Gen. Saif Shafar stressed that the UAE spared no effort to close this file in an honourable manner as it had taken the steps applauded by all relevant international organisations. He added that the UAE adopted concrete and practical actions and treated the issue with transparency, fairness and justice, as it pursued deep-rooted social values and authentic heritage of civilisation in the application of laws that address issues of humanity.

He said that the UAE had taken active and practical steps in this aspect over several years.

The first person who gave attention to the protection of child jockeys was the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who gave orders to stop using underage children as jockeys in camel racing. He also directed to repatriate the children to their respective home countries at his own expenses.

Following footsteps of his predecessor, President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan continued to give care and attention to the issue, and signed the Law No.15/Year 2005 banning employment of children under the age of 18 as camel jockeys in the racing events.

Through this care given by the leadership and the continuous monitoring of its implementation by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Interior Ministry was entrusted with the task of putting the law into practice, said Lt.Gen.Shaafar.

This was carried out in cooperation with other bodies with jurisdiction and several ordinances were issued, committees formed, and task forces set up to follow up the implementation of Law No. 15/2005.

As a result, all child jockeys were located, given shelters, rehabilitated, compensated and repatriated to their home countries to reintegrate them into normal life by giving them education, housing and social care.

UAE also signed agreement with the UNICEF for rehabilitation of these children and make them capable of leading dignified life in their home countries by way of providing them with all necessary assistance for education, healthcare and social support, recalled Lt. Gen. Shaafar.

Dr Ibrahim El Ziq, UNICEF Representative to the Gulf Region stressed that the UAE's keen interest in protecting the rights of children at all levels was manifested by the development of polices, legislations, programs and services aimed at protecting children and juniors at risk as well as at helping them build their capabilities and integrate with the community if and when they are harmed.

The UAE tackled the crucial issues with high transparency which was demonstrated by its resolve to eradicate the issue of child jockeys, he explained.

"As soon as the it recognised the dangers posed by races on those children and the violations to their rights, the UAE issued Federal Law No. 15/ 2005 which bans jockeys under 18 years of age from competing in camel races. It is within this framework that the cooperation agreement was signed by the Ministry of Interior and UNICEF Gulf Area Office (GAO) in 2005," he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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