Onderstaand artikel is gepubliceerd in: Central Chronicle, 19-5-2002      

Kick Child Labour Out Of The World -
Satyarthi Flays FIFA for brushing Aside Code Of Conduct

Bhopal, May 19, 2002

Internationally-accredited anti child labour campaigner, Kailash Satyarthi, came down heavily on FIFA for brushing aside its code of conduct formulated for stopping exploitation of child in football manufacturing industry. He said that FIFA was not sticking to its code and conduct, which had put the life of thousands of children across the world in the dock.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Satyarthi said that India and Pakistan were the two largest exporters of football in the world where kids at the cost of their health were manufacturing footballs. "A game that is supposed to inspire youth and entertain the world must not be played with footballs sewn with the sweat of children, asserted Satyarthi who heads Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Global March.

Many basic labour rights were routinely neglected. About 250 million working children and their families around the world share their life of exploitation.

Showing a video tape in support of his allegations against supreme governing body of football. FIFA, Satyarthi asked it to comply with the code of conduct formulated in 1996 for employing children in football manufacturing industry. In a video tape, a girl child of Jalandhar who admitted her age around 10-12 said that "I have been stitching footballs for as long as I can remember. My hands are constantly in pain it feels like they are burning. There is nothing I can do. I have to help my older sister to complete the orders." Most children are forced in labour help their families to earn enough money to survive. Hence, football becomes home based family work where a middleman who acts on behalf of a sporting good manufacturer provides the football prices in-home production.

Thousands of children in India and Pakistan were being involved in production of footballs and were earning wages much lower than legal minimum wages.

Satyarthi informed that in 1998 FIFA established a code of conduct to prohibit the use of child labour and to require decent working conditions and wages for adult workers in all FIFA licensed production. He said that available evidence points to routine violations of the codes by the manufacturers.

"Now that only 13 days are left for the World cup, we are building pressure of FIFA and national football teams to make the championship the first international sporting event free of child labour and in compliance with fair labour standard" Satyarthi remarked before newsmen. He further said that the world cup campaign aims to engage the public in its campaign against child labour.

Giving details about the provisions of the contract between FIFA and sporting goods companines. Satyarthi said that manufacturer could not use child labour at any stage of the production process including sub-contracting. The exporting manufacturers must sign a letter that they will comply with the contractual labour conditions.

Though, the FIFA informed international trade unions that code of conduct for use of child labour would be fully honoured but in India and Pakistan no body is taker of the provisions. The majority of football is manufactured in Sialkot of Pakistan and in Jalandhar and Meerut in India were children are available in abundance at highly cheap prices.

Satyarthi called upon people across the world to help him in stopping use of child labour in football manufacturing industry and other dangerous works. He said the menace is not restricted only to India but is has been a global issue. Despite India and Pakistan being the locus of football manufacturer, the World Cup campaign has mobilised partners all over the world. In Netherlands, the Federation of Trade Unions, the Federation of Trade Unions the India Committee of the Netherlands and the Clean Cloth Campaign sent a letter to the government asking them to require all government asking them to require all government-sponsored sports clubs to purchase child labour-free and fairly produced sporting goods.

Satyarthi informed that his movement against child labour was born out of the foot march that commenced four years ago when thousands of people took a jouney over 80,000 kilometres, in four continents to mobilise world-wide action against the worst forms of child labour.





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