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25 Okt 2017

David Conn, The Guardian (UK)

Qatar World Cup workers’ rights to improve with end of kafala system, claims union

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The International Trade Union Confederation claims to have secured the agreement of the government in Qatar to significantly improve the physical and employment situation of two million migrant workers, including ending the kafala system, which the ITUC has described as modern slavery...Sharan Burrow, the ITUC general secretary, said, following the agreements, she will recommend that formal complaints made against Qatar be withdrawn, meaning there will be no ILO commission of inquiry. “This set of commitments explodes the model of modern slavery known as the kafala system in the Gulf States; Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should now follow Qatar’s lead,” Burrow said.

A spokesman for Amnesty International...greeted the news cautiously: “We are not able to assess the significance of these developments until we have seen the full details of the government’s commitments. However, today’s announcements have clear potential to have a positive impact on migrant workers’ lives, depending on how they’re implemented...We look forward to seeing the Qatari government committing to and delivering substantive reform of its sponsorship system, including ensuring that workers can leave the country and change jobs without their employer’s permission.”