564556691ea49210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2008-Q2Official says jockeys' rights were violated464556691ea49210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Official says jockeys' rights were violatedA Government official said that while young camel jockeys' rights were violated, the UAE need not apologise.A Government official said that while young camel jockeys' rights were violated, the UAE need not apologise.<p>ABU DHABI // A senior Government official, part of a delegation visiting former child camel jockeys in Pakistan, has publicly acknowledged their rights were violated, but said the UAE was not obliged to apologise.
Col Naser al Minhali is part of a delegation of Ministry of Interior officials and one Unicef representative visiting young men who were once trafficked to work as jockeys in the Emirates. Many of the men were brought into the industry when they were boys, suffering abuse and often injury.</p>
<p>Col Minhali said that while the boys' treatment violated their human rights, the Government was not obliged to issue an apology.
"The UAE did not commit a crime for it to apologise for anything," he said. "These people entered legally through our airports and on legitimate work contracts, and left legitimately, too. But when the UAE saw that there were humanitarian concerns, we took the initiative to solve these problems and compensate their families. That's what we're doing."</p>
<p>The delegation visited children and their families in the central Pakistani city of Multan yesterday.
"I have found the children comfortable and happy. Some are already studying and they're being well taken care of and taking advantage of the programmes available. Our main goal is to concentrate on funding the projects - Unicef takes care of operations," he said.
The UAE outlawed the use of children under the age of 15 as camel jockeys in 2002. In 2005, the Government signed an agreement with Unicef to help the boys who the organisation considered victims of trafficking.</p>
<p>About 1,100 children were returned to their home countries, although the number represented a fraction of the estimated number who were trafficked.
The UAE donated US$8 million (Dh29.4m) to Unicef last year to fund projects to help the children reintegrate into their societies. The ministry has also pledged to compensate the children with a minimum of US$1,000.
Today, the delegation is due to visit Rahim Yar Khan, where many of the boys were recruited.</p>