Petition Closed
Petitioning VP, Asia Region Hemasiri Fernando and 3 others

Tell the Commonwealth Games Federation Child Labor Isn't Sporting

Update: The 2010 Commonwealth Games are over, but child labor in India remains. The Commonwealth Games Federation hasn't agreed to prevent child labor from being used in future games. Tell them to compensate victims, apologize publicly, and ensure child labor is prevented in the next Commonwealth Games.

Construction managers overseeing construction of the Commonwealth Games Stadiums for the 2010 Delhi games have been offering desperate Indian workers incentives like extra bread and milk to bring their children with them to the construction site of the stadiums.

The result? Children as young as three have been seen working in dangerous piles of rubble on a construction project that has already killed at least 45 people, including a two-year-old girl. Pre-school aged children rake pebbles into bags that kids who should be in elementary school haul away. One 15-year-old boy claimed he was paid just $5 for a 12 hour shift of heavy manual labor. The work is brutal and the days are long. But Indian families need the money and the extra food being used to lure their children into the fray.

Last month, a human rights investigator for the UN said the Delhi Commonwealth Games should be called off, since they have caused widespread displacement of the Indian people and horrific child labor. Many officials have also expressed safety concerns about the construction of the stadiums. But despite documentation of child labor and other human rights and safety concerns, the Commonwealth Games Federation declared that the Games are still on. However, they have made no indication they will stop using child labor in construction or stop bribing poor workers with milk to risk their children's lives.

Ask the Commonwealth Games Federation to stop using child labor immediately.

Letter to
VP, Asia Region Hemasiri Fernando
Chairman, Delhi Games Suresh Kalmadi
President, Executive Board Michael Fennell
and 1 other
Media Contact Ian Chesterman
As a human rights and child protection advocate, I was appalled to learn that the stadiums and arenas for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi were being constructed with child labor.

Children as young as three have been seen working in dangerous piles of rubble on a construction project that has already killed at least 45 people, including a two-year-old girl. Pre-school aged children rake pebbles into bags that kids who should be in elementary school haul away. One 15-year-old boy claimed he was paid just $5 for a 12-hour shift of heavy manual labor. It is utterly unacceptable for an international organization of your esteem to use child labor in construction.

Even more disturbing are the reports that parents are being bribed with food to bring their children to a dangerous work environment, and the implication that the Commonwealth Games Federation might support such cruel tactics. Last month, a human rights investigator for the UN said the Delhi Commonwealth Games should be called off, since they have caused widespread displacement of the Indian people and horrific child labor. Many officials have also expressed safety concerns about the construction of the stadiums. But despite documentation of child labor and other human rights and safety concerns, the Commonwealth Games Federation declared that the Games are still on.

If you are moving forward with construction, I ask that you take the following critical steps to protect the safety and basic rights of Indian children and families:

-fairly compensate the children and families who were exploited building your stadiums, including those who died during its construction;

-develop a comprehensive monitoring system for all future construction projects to ensure future Commonwealth Games structures aren't built with child labor; and

-issue a public apology to the families and children affected and make a public and financial commitment to prevent child labor in the future.

The good name of the Commonwealth Games and the counties which participate in those games is on the line. International sporting events like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games should be a coming together of nations in the name of good will and friendly, sportsman-like competition. But there is nothing sporting about pulling children out of school and putting them in dangerous conditions to work 12-hour-days for pennies. There is nothing sporting about risking the lives of athletes and spectators in structures built by children and desperate, exploited workers. And unless you make some serious changes, there will be nothing sporting about participating in the Commonwealth Games.

Regards,