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8 Apr 2022

Qatar: "Unfinished path" to Kafala reforms leaves mainly African security workers susceptible to "forced labour", says Amnesty Intl.; incl. comments from FIFA

The Road Provides, Shutterstock (purchased)

In April 2022, Amnesty International issued a report on its investigation into Qatar's security sector, unearthing patterns of abuse including, but not limited to, racial discrimination, no days off, recruitment fees and withholding passports of workers and thus restricting their mobility and finding different employment opportunities. These patterns were drawn upon after interviewing 34 workers in eight different security companies - most of which are of African origin.

Names of these security companies were left undisclosed due to fear of retaliation against the workers. However, the report spoke of the responsibility of Qatari parties, namely the Qatari Government and the Supreme Committee, which have initiated a series of reforms since the awarding of the World Cup to the Gulf state in 2010, including that of the highly criticised Kafala system, but to no avail as abuses remain rampant in the absence of enforcement mechanisms. Amnesty reached out the Qatari Government and the Supreme Committee for their response - their full responses can be accessed below.

The report also highlighted the higher work standards workers working on World Cup projects are generally subjected to "thanks to the Supreme Committee’s Workers’ Welfare Standards, a set of labour standards and protections which are included in contracts awarded to companies working on World Cup sites". However, patterns of overwork and non-awarding of days off were seen in an audit of World Cup sites, and 70% of these abuses were against security workers. Amnesty reached out to FIFA for a response - their full response can be accessed below.