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14 Jan 2016

Tom Finn, Reuters

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says Qatar has made progress on improving rights of migrant labourers

Qatar has made progress in its efforts to improve the lives of migrant labourers, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday, departing from previous U.N. criticism of the wealthy nation's treatment of workers. Rights groups accuse Qatar of abusive labour laws and of forcing some workers to live in squalor and work under poor safety conditions. Unions and labour protests are banned and authorities penalise dissent with jail terms or immediate deportation. "From what we have seen there is progress. We are convinced there is genuine will to tackle rights violations," Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told reporters in Doha after a two-day visit to the tiny state, which draws its vast wealth mainly from LNG exports...During his visit, the U.N. envoy spoke with construction workers while on a tour of a new worker accommodation camp built on the outskirts of Doha by the government to host 100,000 foreign workers.