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Qatar labour abuses still ‘rampant’ – Amnesty

Future host of 2022 FIFA World Cup had previously defended its human rights record

PHOTO: Image for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Shutterstock

Labour exploitation in Qatar is still “rampant” in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite promises of reform in the country, an Amnesty International report said this week.

Five years after winning the rights to host the football tournament, Qatar has failed to deliver “significant reforms” to the “appalling conditions faced by most migrant construction workers”, the group said.

“Too little has been done to address rampant migrant labour abuse. Qatar’s persistent labour reform delays are a recipe for human rights disaster,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.

“FIFA has played its part in this sorry performance. It knew there were labour rights issues in Qatar. It must work closely with the Qatari authorities and business partners to ensure the World Cup is not built on exploitation.”

Amnesty in May identified nine labour-rights issues in Qatar, of which five it now claims the country has still “seriously failed to address”.

It said that reforms to Qatar’s “kafala”, or work-sponsorship system, had been “limited” and still require workers to seek their employer’s consent to change jobs or leave the country.

According to figures from the Indian embassy in Doha seen by Reuters, as many as 260 migrant workers from India have died in Qatar in 2015. That figure includes all migrant deaths.

Qatar’s Labour Ministry declined to comment on Amnesty’s recent statement, Reuters reported.

But in May, Qatar hit back at Amnesty’s previous claims, saying the country was committed to improving conditions for migrant labourers. Reforms include a system designed to ensure workers are paid on time.

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