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26 Oct 2017

Amnesty International

Qatar/UN: Agreement to tackle migrant labour abuse offers path to reform

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A new agreement concluded between the Qatari authorities and the International Labour Organization (ILO) sets out a pathway that could lead to long-promised reform of Qatar’s abusive sponsorship system if the government delivers on the agreement in full, said Amnesty International.

The organization is cautiously welcoming the agreement to establish a technical cooperation project made public today, in which the Qatari government has committed to revising its laws in line with international labour standards and the guidance of ILO experts. However, it urges the government to clarify how and when it will deliver on these commitments ahead of a key ILO session on 8 November.

“Qatar has previously claimed to abolish its sponsorship system while leaving intact key elements that mean workers cannot leave the country or change job without their employers’ permission,” said James Lynch, [Deputy Director of the Global Issues Program at Amnesty International]. “This agreement should signal a change of approach, and we will be monitoring closely as to whether laws and practices change.”