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22 Mar 2017

Nita Bhalla, Thompson Reuters Foundation

ILO defers decision on whether to investigate Qatar on migrant abuses

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) has deferred a decision on whether to investigate Qatar for forced labour violations, giving the Gulf state until November to implement new labour reforms to improve migrant worker rights...The ILO said late on Tuesday it had noted recent measures by Qatar to improve the plight of migrant workers, but asked the Gulf state to provide further information on labour reforms. "The Governing Body decides to request the Government of Qatar to continue to provide information ... on further measures to effectively implement (a law) relating to the entry, exit and residence of migrant workers," the ILO said. The ILO's executive also asked Doha for details on reforms related to domestic workers and the status of committees to resolve workers' disputes by its next meeting in November - when it will decide whether to appoint a commission to probe abuses. Qatari embassy officials in Delhi were not immediately available for comment on the ILO decision...Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty International India, called on Qatar to show it was making "serious" progress towards ending forced labour. "This means unequivocally abolishing the exit permit system so that employers have no right to interfere in a migrant worker's ability to leave the country, and amending employment laws so that employers no longer have the power to prevent migrant workers from changing jobs," Patel said.