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Published in: Hindustan Times, 9-3-2002      

States face suit over kids in sports industry

by:
Himansu S. Sahoo

Bhubaneswar, March 8 - State Governments lax on child labour data are in for trouble from an international children's body. The South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude will file cases against State Governments giving false statements on the numer and position of child labourers.
     Despite the Supreme Court directive, a majority of State Governments have been manipulating the status reports on child labour. Such misrepresentation should be treated as contempt of the apex court, chairperson of SACCS and Global March Against Child Labour Kailash Satyarthi said on Thursday.
     Satyarthi has launched a campaign against the use of footballs and other sports goods sewn by children.
     With the World Cup 2002 ahead, the body has started a nation-wide movement. Nearly 5 million children all over the world, from which India and Pakistan alone comprise about 60 per cent, are being exploited in these industries.
     According to a recent report by the India Committee of the Netherlands and All-Pakistan Federation of Labour, many children in India and Pakistan are involved in sewing footballs. Besides, in both countries, children are earning wages much lower than the legal minimum and many basic labour rights are routinely neglected, Satyarthi said.
     Children often sustain injuries while sewing footballs which develop infections due to lack of treatment. Children also have to work long hours to make an earning for their families and miss out on education.
     In 1998, FIFA had established a code of conduct to prohibit child labour and establish decent working conditions and wages for adult workers in all FIFA-licensed production. Available evidence points to routine violation of the codes by manufacturers. The World Cup Campaign, which had its first nationally televised event during the 114th Durand Cup, aims at engaging the public in its campaign against child labour.



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India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - 24 april 2002