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International Academics condemn UN convention banning Child Labour as “Harmful”, says the Policy ignores Benefits and Reflects Western Prejudice

FILE - The United Nations headquarters building is pictured though a window with the UN logo in the foreground. VOA

London, Dec 18, 2016: A group of international academics has condemned the UN convention banning child labour as “harmful”, saying the policy ignores benefits and reflects Western prejudice.

In a letter to The Observer newspaper, they argued that allowing young children to work could have positive effects which were not being taken into account, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

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The researchers, who work in the fields of child development or human rights, said the UN committee has ignored available evidence in favour of “outdated and ill-informed Western prejudices”.

They said the UN policies could have a negative impact on the ground.

One of the signatories, Dorte Thorsen of the school of global studies at the University of Sussex, said: “Banning children from work doesn’t bring them back into school.

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“In fact, it might do the opposite if they were working to pay their school fees,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.

He pointed at India and Africa nations and said: “We are seeing collectivization movements of child workers, a unionization where they are trying to participate in politics, be heard, as opposed to this being a story of victimization and oppression.”

Richard Carothers, a Toronto-based child development expert at the International Child Protection Network, called the UN policy “hard-headed attitude of the big bureaucratic international agencies”.

“Children need to be protected from nasty situations, and there is a debate about whether the percentage of working children in nasty situations is a small percentage or a very small percentage,” Carothers said.

Thorsen also criticized Britain’s Department for International Development Minister Priti Patel for pressuring British companies to scrutinize their supply chains for evidence of child labour.

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The experts also pointed at children, who were forced into hazardous, dangerous or illegal work because more regulated employment became closed to them.

Around 193 countries have committed to ending child labour by 2025 under the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The academics want the existing minimum age (15 in some countries, 18 in others), to be abandoned, arguing that “age-appropriate” work could be beneficial for children in both the developing and the developed worlds. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?