An overview of migrant workers’ rights issues in Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 World Cup from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18:
IS QATAR PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS?
*Qatar, whose population is largely composed of foreign nationals, has faced intense criticism from human rights organizations because of its treatment of migrant workers.
*In its 48-page Reality Check 2021 report, Amnesty International found that labour reforms in 2014 had not prevented practices such as withholding salaries and charging workers to change jobs.
*Qatar’s government acknowledged that its labor system is undergoing reform, but denied allegations in the report that migrant workers are being abused and exploited.
WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF MIGRANT WORKERS who have passed away in Qatar?
*A British newspaper reported last year that at least 6,500 migrant workers – many of whom were working on World Cup projects – had died in Qatar since the country won the right to host the World Cup.
*Qatar responded by stating that the number of deaths reflected the number of migrant workers and included many non-manual workers, noting that every death was tragic.
*The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Qatar office head, Max Tunon, cautioned that data on worker deaths in Qatar is commonly reported without the necessary nuance.
*The Guardian’s number includes all deaths among migrants … without discriminating between migrant workers and the general migrant population, let alone deaths resulting from occupational injuries.
*The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the Qatari World Cup organizer, has reported three work-related deaths and 37 non-work-related deaths at the World Cup 2022 sites.
*Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, stated in an interview with Piers Morgan on Nov. 30 that 400 to 500 migrant workers have died on World Cup-related projects.
*Qatar has launched a work safety investigation into the death of a Filipino following reports that he died while working at a World Cup training site in December.
*One of the Philippines’ nationals died while working at a resort south of the capital Doha, the foreign ministry confirmed in a statement.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS QATAR’S LABOR LAW CHANGED?
*The Qatari Labor Law has been changed to dismantle much of the “kafala” sponsorship system, eliminating the need for workers to obtain permission from their employer in order to change jobs or leave the country.
*The minimum wage has also been increased by 25% to 1,000 Qatari riyals ($274.65) per month and has been extended to all workers rather than just Qataris.
* Qatar has established an insurance fund to assist migrants who have been cheated of their wages.
IN WHAT WAY HAVE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATIONS ADDRESSED THE ISSUE?
*Football associations from ten European countries, including England and Germany, wrote an open letter to FIFA prior to the World Cup urging them to take action to improve the rights of migrant workers.
*This month, a group of 11 European football associations met with FIFA, which confirmed support for the establishment of a permanent ILO office in Doha in order to assist migrant workers.
*In September, the English Football Association recommended compensation for the families of migrant workers who died while constructing the infrastructure for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
*The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has announced that the shirts worn by the Netherlands team during the World Cup will be auctioned to support migrant workers in Qatar.
*During their visit to Qatar, the Netherlands team will also speak with migrants who helped build the World Cup stadiums.
RIGHTS GROUPS HAVE SUGGESTED WHAT MEASURES?
*It has been proposed by Amnesty International and other rights organizations that FIFA compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights violations by setting aside $440 million to match the prize money for the World Cup.
* FIFA has stated that it is evaluating Amnesty’s proposal and implementing a “unprecedented due diligence process” for the protection of workers involved in the project.
* FIFA noted that it was working with the organising committee and had already compensated a number of employees.
*Amnesty International has also identified ten actions Qatar should take to address serious gaps and weaknesses in its labour reform program.