Amnesty International: Foreign workers in Qatar remain vulnerable to exploitation

Qatar has not fulfilled all its promises to improve the conditions of foreign workers working in the country preparing to host the 2022 World Cup, an Amnesty International report said on Thursday.

In a report titled "Everyone Works, No Wages," the rights group said, "Despite the promises of reform pledged by Qatar before the 2022 World Cup, it remains a hotbed for some employers who are deprived of principles."

The report comes ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron's meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Thursday.

The prince attended a football match between Paris Saint-Germain, owned by a Qatari sovereign fund, and Real Madrid.

Doha has adopted reforms including a minimum wage, salary protection and partial cancellation of exit visas needed by workers to leave the country.

The minimum wage became $ 200 in a series of changes in labor laws announced by Qatar in October 2017, following international criticism.

A government spokesman told AFP on Thursday that the wealthy emirate had made "significant progress" in labor reform.

"We continue to work with organizations ... to ensure the effectiveness of these reforms," ​​he said. "We will work to address any delays immediately. We said from the beginning that this requires time, resources and commitments."

But the Amnesty report documents the suffering of hundreds of workers in three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who have not been paid for months.

"Migrant workers go to Qatar hoping to give their families a better life," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International's deputy director for international affairs. "Instead, many return home empty-handed after spending months running for their wages, with the help of a small system that is supposed to protect them there." .

After being criticized for the mistreatment of migrant workers, Qatar and the ILO agreed in 2017 to reform labor laws, including the creation of new conflict resolution committees.

Amnesty International said some workers in the three companies, Hamptons International, Hamad bin Khalid bin Hamad (HKH) and United Clinic who filed complaints with the new committees, were able to collect some of their wages in exchange for dropping the complaints. To their homeland without their dues. "

"We urge the Qatari authorities to fully implement what they have promised and end the shameful reality of the exploitation of workers," Cockburn said.

The organization cited the case of a Kenyan worker at United Cleaning who said he had to search for food in the trash bins because he had not been paid for five months.

The man said he worked for two years and five months in the company without leave, and he was entitled to "a lot of money."

According to the report, all companies attributed the non-payment of salaries to financial difficulties.

 

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