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Qatar failing migrant workers: Amnesty

21 May 2015 10:15


Amnesty International says Qatar has failed to deliver on promised labor reforms related to migrant workers ahead of the 2022 football World Cup.

“Without prompt action, the pledges Qatar made last year are at serious risk of being dismissed as a mere public relations stunt to ensure” the Persian Gulf state keeps the event, read an Amnesty International report published on Thursday.

In a recent string of reports about “abuse” against migrant workers in Qatar, the rights group said Doha has not honored promised reforms such as the “kafala” system, which prevents workers from leaving the country and makes changing employers difficult.

“Qatar is failing migrant workers,” said Mustafa Qadri, a Persian Gulf migrant rights researcher at Amnesty International.

“Last year the government made promises to improve migrant labor rights in Qatar, but in practice, there have been no significant advances,” he added.

According to the report, 441 migrant workers from India and Nepal died in Qatar in 2014 while working on World Cup related projects.

The rights group also called on FIFA, football’s governing body, to prioritize the migrant laborers’ predicament.

FIFA “must publicly and privately call on the Qatari authorities to implement effective reforms to protect migrant worker rights,” the report said.

Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused Qatar of dragging its feet on its labor law reforms, insisting that not enough is being done to investigate the effect of working long hours in temperatures that often exceed 50 degrees centigrade.

Despite the kingdom’s promises to improve their working conditions, Nepalese migrants died at a rate of one every two days in 2014.

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