Foreign workers’ rights in Qatar returns to the spotlight

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, November 13, 2014

Despite numerous criticisms and continuous warnings from human rights organizations to Qatar regarding the dire conditions for migrant workers building facilities for its upcoming World Cup in 2022, no efforts have been made to improve their situation, and things remain unchanged.

Amnesty International said that “Qatar is still failing on workers’ rights ahead of the World Cup” and “has made only minimal progress on a number of plans it announced in May 2014.”

In a report titled, “No extra time: How Qatar is still failing on workers’ rights ahead of the World Cup,” the organization said that Qatar has not fulfilled a series of reforms it announced six months ago to tackle exploitation ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The report highlighted the situation of migrant workers in the Gulf state, namely “delays in payments of migrants’ wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, poor living conditions and shocking details of forced labor.”

Moreover, Amnesty urged Qatar to start an “independent” investigation into the causes of death of many migrant workers, and reduce the high costs required for them to take legal action against employers.

The report also called on Qatar to publish the names of exploitative recruiters and employers.

“Time is running out fast. It has been four years since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup, putting itself in the global spotlight, so far its response to migrant labor abuses has not been much more than promises of action and draft laws,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, the head of refugee and migrants’ rights at Amnesty International.

“By failing to act quickly to address the gaping holes in its human rights record, Qatar risks seriously damaging its credibility and calling into question its commitment to human rights,” he added.

The Qatar Football Association (QFA) told AFP yesterday that Qatar has no desire to host the African Nations Cup after Morocco backed out due to the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

QFA Vice Chairman Saud al-Mohannadi refuted reports that said Qatar would host the competition, saying “it is illogical" and “the news is false."

Popular French newspaper L’Equipe has reported that Qatar may exploit the need to find a replacement for Morocco to host the 2015 African Nations Cup to “test” its hosting abilities and be able to better organize the World Cup in 2022.

(Al-Akhbar)

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