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18 Nov 2020

Qatar: Reforms welcome yet inadequate implementation to date suggests migrant workers still vulnerable to exploitation, say Amnesty International

As we near the two-year countdown to the kick-off of the Qatar World Cup 2022, Amnesty International release a report stating that the Gulf country must strengthen the enforcement of its recent labour reforms and urging the Football Association to pressure FIFA to act on the long history of labour abuses in the country.

The report comes in a year when Amnesty say Qatar has enacted further welcome labour reforms but the reality for migrant workers who they are intended to safeguard remains the same, with allegations of abusive employers and exploitation continuing. Amnesty say that "thousands" of workers continue to be subject to labour abuse despite earlier reforms. The report states that the reforms introduced by Qatar since 2017 should benefit migrant workers and welcomes them, but they must be implemented and monitored to become effective.

It’s time for Qatar to send a clear signal that labour abuses will not be tolerated. Qatar needs to do much more to ensure legislation has a tangible impact on people’s lives. 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. Until these reforms are fully enforced, many will remain trapped in a cycle of exploitation.
Steve Cockburn - Head of Economic and Social Justice, Amnesty International

Amnesty offices around the world have written to their football associations urging them to use their leverage with FIFA to help ensure migrant workers rights are respected ahead of the World Cup kick off.