Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bread & Milk at the Commonwealth Games

Colleagues,

As the preparations for the start of the Commonwealth Games in India continue to unravel what is exposed is the truly shocking exploitation of children as part of construction projects.

The image on the left is evidence of the children of labourers on the construction projects working to clear rubble etc., and thereafter being 'paid' with bread, milk and possibly lunch from the the project's contractor. The Indian government wanted to exploit the games as a showcase for Indian's increasing modernity, it reveals instead a casual, wholesale, alternative form of exploitation altogether.

You can see other images from the construction of the infrastructure for the Games at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2010/feb/02/child-labour-commonwealth-games-india#/?picture=358844731&index=1

A boycott of the games is being called, but is being opposed in many quarters, the issue of child labour being one of the issues.

Your view?

Thanks

Ian

3 comments:

Muhammed said...

Ian,

A very good issues to expose, particuarly as global labour movements and NGOs have created the stimulus to attack unfair labour practices associated with the Olympis e.g. Playfair.

I think this instance shows that any globally significant gaming (or similar) event should fall under the banner of Playfair to help set standards prior to the work on prep for the games starting and to provide expert monitoring.

It's clear that a mixture of incompetence and greed has created the environment to allow the Indian Commonwealth games to quite literally collapse, perhaps it should be argued that, in addition to Playfair, there is a more wider, concerted framework to help countries approach largscale infrastructure projects like these.

Best wishes

Ash

Val said...

Ian,

I think it was on a course that you did for the GFTU on child labour a few year's back that I came to find out that countries like India hadn't ratified the ILO convention on child labour. I've just checked the ILO website before responding to your piece and, lo and behold, they still haven't!

OK, you can say that countries that have, Albania for example, still have serious issues around the exploitation of child labour but, India (particularly on taking on the Commonwealth Games) wants to demonstrate, as you say, credentials of modernity. Well, for a country where 50,000 people sleep out on the streets of New Delhi alone, they had better get their priorities right. India has had a space exploration programme for some years for example, it would seem better to investigate the root political/economic causes of the nations woes on terra firma, than go looking for UFOs!

Val

ToadBoy said...

It is a dangerous exercise for Westerners to condemn, with no acute sense of local economic dynamics, why and how labour of any form is used within a developing eocnomy context. You run the great risk ov viewing all activity from an imperialist and essentially racialist context. I really don't think you take local issues into account in your comments.