Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 13:19 UK

Bangladesh child jockeys get cash

Robot camel jockey in the UAE
The UAE banned child camel jockeys in 2002

A delegation from the United Arab Emirates has paid $1.43m in compensation to hundreds of former child camel jockeys in Bangladesh.

The money will be distributed by the Bangladesh home ministry to 879 former jockeys who will each receive between $1,000 to $10,000, officials say.

The children eligible for payments have been identified by the UN children's agency in a country-wide survey.

The UAE says the money will help the children to re-integrate into society.

In 2005, the UAE government agreed with the UN Children agency, Unicef, to co-operate on the "repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration" of children involved in the sport.

About 1,100 were returned home over the following two years to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania.

The use of children under 15 as camel jockeys was banned in the UAE 2002. They were later replaced by robots.

Racing injuries

Bangladesh Home Minister Sahara Khatun said that the amount of compensation received by each former jockey will depend on the level of suffering they experienced while in the UAE and on the amount of time they spent there.

She said that money will only be paid to children who worked as camel jockeys after January 1993.

In 2005 researchers in Qatar said that the risk of serious injury, disability and death was "shockingly high" among child jockeys in camel races in Gulf countries.

The researchers looked at 275 boys, many younger than nine and some as young as five, who were treated for camel racing injuries.

They discovered that before a race, child riders sometimes went without food for a week, not as punishment but to keep their weight down, meaning they were often malnourished.

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