Friday, May 3, 2013

Child labor in Iraq

In a 2001 report, UNICEF estimated 14% of children under 14 years-old were working in 2000 in Iraq, still under the regime of Saddam Hussain. In its quite comprehensive report, UNICEF doesn’t even mention that this high ratio of child workers was after 10 years of a UN-sanctioned trade embargo against Iraq that banned everything except medicine & "in humanitarian circumstances," food. The sanctions were momentous & monstrous since an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of them--which the despicable Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State, called “worth it” to achieve US military & colonial goals.

UNICEF is not forthcoming for child labor statistics in Iraq since the US occupation except to report it appears to have increased substantially, continues to rise & that the number of homeless children has increased. The statistical silence covers a multitude of crimes from the UN embargo & the US occupation.

In 2005, the US State Department reported Iraqi unemployment at over 30% with an estimated one million Iraqi families living on less than US $1.00 a day so children are used as sources of income in the interests of family survival. This is just one vile part of the legacy of US “emancipation.”

Here a small boy in Najaf, Iraq is sifting for recyclable waste at a dump site on April 30, 2013.

(Photo by Ahmed Mousa/Reuters)

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