CHILD LABOUR: UNICEF reacts to Mongolia’s child jockeys

Summary: During this year’s Naadam celebrations, horse racing – together with wrestling and archery – takes place as part of three traditional competitive sports. Following this year’s festival, foreign media and human rights organizations have been speaking out about the tradition of child jockeys riding in nationwide Naadam festival horse races.

[19 July 2013] - 

While exact figures are still not known, international media and unofficial sources have suggested that two children died and another 24 children were injured while riding in races held between July 11 and 13 of this year.

UNICEF released a statement about the races, saying they were saddened by the reported deaths of “a seven year old child in Tuv aimag and nine year old boy in Arkhangai aimag”. Their statement also referred to the races that take place throughout the year all across the country.

Speaking directly to the issue of child labor, the statement had this to say: “UNICEF takes this opportunity to remind the Government of Mongolia, and all communities around the country, that the use of children as jockeys for the purpose of making profit or entertainment is a violation of children’s right to protection from exploitation and harmful labour and places them in great danger. As Mongolia is signatory to international legislations such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International; Labour Organization Conventions 182 and 138, much needs to be done to fulfil the rights of these children and to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and respect the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.”

UNICEF acknowledged the legislation in place, and currently under review by Parliament, that is meant to regulate the age of jockeys, accident insurance coverage, and safety equipment, but expressed concern about the number of injuries and fatalities that persist. UNICEF acknowledged the government’s continued efforts to improve child well-being in Mongolia, as well as its commitment to international provisions protecting children, but suggested that the government would remain under scrutiny if international legislation to protect children was disregarded.

The organization is prepared, along with its national and international partners, “to continue working closely with the Government of Mongolia to address the critical needs of the nation’s children to help them survive and thrive, and enjoy their national celebrations in safety”.

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.



pdf: UB Post


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