Hundreds of migrant workers strike in Qatar over working conditions

Workers at the construction site of Al-Wakrah Stadium (Al Janoub Stadium), some 15 kilometres on the outskirts of the Qatari capital Doha. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 August 2019

Hundreds of migrant workers strike in Qatar over working conditions

  • The “kafala” system is widely considered exploitative and gives employers excessive power over their employees
  • The “kafala” system can leave migrant workers vulnerable to forced labor by trapping them in employment situations in which their rights to fair wages, overtime pay, adequate housing, freedom of movement, and access to justice are at risk

LONDON: Hundreds of migrant workers in Qatar took part in a strike this week to protest against poor working conditions, unpaid and delayed wages, and threats that wages will be reduced, Human Rights Watch reported.
The “kafala” sponsorship labor system under which migrant workers’ legal status in Qatar – including their entry, residence, transfer, and exit – depends on a single employer-sponsor. It is widely considered exploitative and gives employers excessive power over their employees.
“The workers in Qatar are going on strike in a country that bans them from striking or joining unions, and against the backdrop of a labor system that leaves them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” said Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Abusive labor practices that lead workers to take such a risk will continue until the Qatari government makes good on its promise to repeal the kafala system.”
The “kafala” system can leave migrant workers vulnerable to forced labor by trapping them in employment situations in which their rights to fair wages, overtime pay, adequate housing, freedom of movement, and access to justice are at risk.


Sudan’s ex-president Bashir arrives at corruption trial

Updated 2 min 41 sec ago

Sudan’s ex-president Bashir arrives at corruption trial

KHARTOUM: Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir on Monday arrived amid heavy security at the courthouse in the capital Khartoum where he is facing corruption charges, a Reuters witness said.
Bashir was charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner, prosecutor Alaa al-Din Abdallah said in June.
His trial will be a test of how serious the country's authorities are about trying to erase the legacy of his autocratic 30-year rule, marked by widespread violence, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.
Bashir was also charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.
On Saturday, Sudan's ruling military council, which took over after Bashir's ouster, signed a power-sharing agreement with the main opposition coalition, paving the way for a transitional government and eventual elections.
Stability in Sudan, which has been grappling with an economic crisis, is seen as crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.