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Sun 24 Jan 2010 08:06 AM

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UAE pays final compensation to child jockeys

The matter of child jockeys is 'now closed' after delivery of final payment - official.

The UAE has paid in full all compensation owed to Pakistani children formerly involved in camel racing in the emirates, it has been announced. Ali Saif Al-Awani, the UAE's Ambassador to Pakistan, delivered individual checks to Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik at a meeting in Islamabad as the final instalment of payments to 810 child jockeys, news agency WAM reported.

It said the Government of Pakistan "expressed appreciation" of the support extended by UAE leaders to "rehabilitate and provide healthcare and education for children who were formerly involved in camel racing".

Al-Awani said the issue of child jockeys was "now closed" following the delivery of the final payments.

Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, director general of the Naturalisation and Residency Department (NRD) and chairman of the UAE Special Committee for Rehabilitation of Camel Jockeys, said that Pakistan was the second country after Mauritania to receive necessary services and educational and healthcare for former child camel jockeys. The UAE signed an agreement with the UN children's fund UNICEF in 2005 to outlaw the practice of children riding in camel races.

The UAE banned child jockeys in 1993 although abuses remained widespread until the 2005 agreement.

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