Fri, Sep 20, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Qatari firms still exploiting migrant workers: Amnesty

AFP, PARIS

Qatar is not fulfilling all of its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Amnesty International said yesterday.

“Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers,” the rights group said in a report.

The report came ahead of a meeting in Paris yesterday between French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Al Thani on Wednesday also attended a soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain — owned by Qatar’s state-owned investment fund — and Real Madrid.

The report documented the plight of hundreds of workers at three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who went unpaid for months.

“Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life; instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them,” Amnesty deputy director of global issues Stephen Cockburn said.

After coming under fire over the treatment of migrant workers, Qatar in 2017 agreed with the International Labour Organization to undertake labor reforms, including establishing new dispute resolution committees.

While some of the workers at the three firms — Hamton International, Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad (HKH) and United Cleaning — who filed complaints with the new committees received part of their earnings in exchange for dropping their cases, “most went home with nothing,” Amnesty said.

“We are urging the Qatari authorities to fully deliver what has been promised and end the shameful reality of labor exploitation,” Cockburn said.

The companies all cited financial difficulties for failing to pay wages, the report said.

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