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31 Mar 2022

DW (Germany)

Qatar World Cup 2022: Reforms undertaken by Qatari govt. "unimplemented" as concrete steps against abuses incl. sanctions and inspections are limited

Photo Play, Shutterstock

"Qatar 2022: Still a long way to go on human rights", 29 Mar 2022

...What has become of the much-criticized working conditions for the migrants, many from other countries within Asia, employed on World Cup construction projects? And has there been any noticeable improvement after a minimum wage and the right to choose one's workplace were passed into law in 2020? 

A good person to ask is Dietmar Schäfers, who...was involved in negotiations with the World Cup organizing committee and the Labor Ministry in Qatar several times, while also visiting construction sites to view the conditions with his own eyes.  

BHI paid particular attention to the kafala system, which is now officially banned...

He said workers were now able to elect their own spokespersons at the construction sites and that an arbitration board has been established, which they can turn to with any problems. 

Though these steps are positive, Schäfers said, they haven't been implemented as well as they need to be.

"In Qatar, there are 200 inspectors for the current workforce of around 900,000," he said. "That is far too few." 

He also believes that the Qatari government has not done a great job of sanctioning companies that violate the regulations.

"There should be more consistent penalties for construction companies that do not comply with the laws: not fines, but imprisonment and company closures," he said. "That's not happening yet."

..."Sustained monitoring" of the human rights situation in Qatar will be required long after the World Cup...

"There have been real improvements for the approximately 2% of workers who were employed on World Cup construction sites," she told DW. "For the remaining 98%, the situation looks much worse, because it's not being looked at as closely...The situation for those who want to stay in Qatar after the tournament could become even more difficult."
Katja Müller-Fahlbusch, Middle East expert at Amnesty International,