Taking a strong notice, Amnesty International on Tuesday warned that Qatar is running out of time to root out widespread labour abuse for tens of thousands of migrant workers before hosting the 2022 World Cup.
In another critical labour report, the human rights group said that despite well-publicised reform initiative, Qatar risks breaking its promise to the world to deliver meaningful change.Oil rich Qatar is all set to host football’s biggest tournament the 2022 World Cup for the first time in the Middle East.
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Amnesty’s Stephen Cockburn, said “Time is running out if the Qatari authorities want to deliver a legacy we can all cheer, namely a labour system that ends the abuse and misery inflicted upon so many migrant workers every day”.
Amnesty, in its report, stated that despite reforms, conditions for many migrant workers in Qatar remain harsh. The report called on Qatar to strengthen and properly enforce current labour laws, tackle worker debt by increasing the minimum wage, and stop passports being held by bosses.
Despite Doha’s promises to end the “Kafala” system, Amnesty asked to overhaul the “kafala”, or sponsorship system. Kafala ties the workers to their employers which restrict their ability to change jobs or leave the country.
“Holes in the reforms to date mean many workers are still stuck in harsh conditions, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, while those who return home do so empty handed, with no compensation and no justice,” said Cockburn.
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Qatar in 2017 agreed to work closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to improve workers’ conditions.
In recent years, Qatar has initiated a series of labour reforms following intense international pressure. Qatar has introduced a monthly minimum wage of 750 Qatari riyals (USD 206) and partially scrapped the exit visa system which meant workers had to seek employers’ permission before leaving the country.