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)
Short Url
Updated 18 November 2020

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.


Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections

Updated 29 November 2020

Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections

GAZA: The World Health Organization delivered 15 ventilators to Gaza hospitals on Sunday amid a spike in COVID-19 infections that has tested the Palestinian territory’s under-developed health system.
The donation of the intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, came a week after local and international public health advisers said hospitals in the enclave could soon become overwhelmed.
“These devices will help medical teams provide better service to patients, but it is not enough,” said Abdullatif AlHajj of Gaza’s health ministry.
AlHajj said hospitals had suffered acute shortages in oxygen essential in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Gaza has logged nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases and 97 deaths, mostly since August, amid concern of a wider outbreak in the densely populated enclave of 2 million people, many of whom live in poverty.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 342 COVID-19 patients, of whom 108 are in critical condition, are being treated in the territory’s hospitals, which have been able to expand their intensive care units to 150 beds over the past week.
It said more than half of the territory’s 150 ventilators are in use.
“The health system right now can hold on for a few weeks after the expansion of beds,” said Abdelnaser Soboh, emergency health lead in the World Health Organization’s Gaza sub-office.
Soboh said Gaza is also experiencing severe shortages of medications and disposable equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
Palestinians in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza say 13 years of economic sanctions by Israel and its border blockade have crippled their economy and undermined the development of medical facilities, weakening their ability to tackle a pandemic.
Israel, which cites security concerns for the border restrictions it imposes along with neighboring Egypt, says it has not limited the transfer of medical supplies to Gaza to fight the pandemic.