Amnesty International urges Qatar to crack down on abusive employers

Amnesty International urges Qatar to crack down on abusive employers
Qatar should crack down on abusive employers and strengthen enforcement of its labor reforms if the state is to deliver on promises to protect workers’ rights, Amnesty International said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 18 November 2020

Amnesty International urges Qatar to crack down on abusive employers

Amnesty International urges Qatar to crack down on abusive employers
  • The report said that although the country has introduced a series of reforms, little has been done to enforce them
  • Amnesty International called on the state to enforce labour reforms

LONDON: Qatar should crack down on abusive employers and strengthen enforcement of its labor reforms if the state is to deliver on promises to protect workers’ rights, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The human rights group warned in a report that further action needed to be taken to guarantee that migrant workers receive wages, have access to justice and are protected from exploitation.
The report said that although the country has introduced a series of major reforms which include better pay and access to justice, little has been done to enforce them.
“Qatar needs to do much more to ensure legislation has a tangible impact on people’s lives,” said the head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, Steve Cockburn.
Cockburn said that many migrant workers had not benefitted from the reforms and will remain trapped in an exploitation cycle.
“Positive reforms have too often been undermined by weak implementation and an unwillingness to hold abusive employers to account. Inspection systems are inadequate to detect abuse, and it remains challenging for workers to lodge complaints without risking their income and legal status.”
The report, which was released two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, urged Qatar to respect the right of migrant workers to form trade unions and strengthen mechanisms to spot and put an end to abuses.
Although the 2022 World Cup host nation introduced a number of reforms aimed at bettering the conditions of migrant workers since 2017, thousands of workers in Qatar still face labor abuses.
A separate Amnesty report showed how many domestic workers in Qatar continue to work around 16 hours a day without a day off, despite a law being introduced to limit shifts to ten hours and stipulating one day off every week.