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22 Mar 2017

Intl Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

ILO extends probe into forced labour of migrant workers in Qatar

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The ILO’s Governing Body decided to keep open the possibility of a Commission of Inquiry into Qatar despite the Gulf state’s unprecedented deployment of dozens of lobbyists at the Geneva meeting aiming to shut down any possibility of the UN body’s strongest compliance procedure being applied. Worker delegates at the ILO, with the support of representatives of employers and governments of democratic countries, refused an attempt by Sudan and the United Arab Emirates to water down the Governing Body’s decision, denying Qatar a propaganda coup. Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "Qatar is on notice and has until November when the ILO will revisit this case. The government has refused any serious reform in the years since it was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and ILO delegates have rejected the false and misleading claims made by Qatar in its report to the ILO this month...Governments, unions and business can see that Qatar has a choice. It can choose to stop the use of modern slavery and meet its international legal obligations on workers rights by, abolishing exit permits, introducing a minimum wage and ending the race based system of wages, establishing an independent grievance procedure and allowing workers representation...This decision will also increase pressure on FIFA, which has pledged human rights respect in its major events after 2022, but so far failed to use its enormous leverage on Qatar to ensure real reform, and respect for international labour and human rights standards," said Burrow.