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World Cup 2022: Qatar 'falling significantly short' on reforms - Amnesty International

Author: Dan Roan, BBC, Published on: 6 February 2019

Qatar is "running out of time" to honour promised labour reforms before the 2022 World Cup, says Amnesty International... [A] ... report titled 'Reality Check'... warned that "much more needs to be done" and that workers were still being subject to "exploitation and abuse".

... world football governing body Fifa said it "welcomes the important steps taken... by the government of Qatar towards reforming its laws on the protection of workers' rights". However, it added: "We share the view of Amnesty International that additional progress is needed..."

The Qatari government said it "welcomes" the "continued interest and scrutiny"... and claims it penalised or banned 11,994 companies in 2018 for violating labour laws... "Far from seeing time as running out, the Government of the State of Qatar understands further change is needed and we remain committed to developing these changes...

Amnesty acknowledges that Qatar has "finally begun a high-profile reform process" amid international pressure over worker deaths because of poor conditions. They include new laws for a temporary minimum wage and a workers' insurance fund...

The study... says that workers continue to be vulnerable to serious abuses, "sometimes amounting to forced labour and human trafficking"... [and] there has been "no meaningful reform of the 'kafala' sponsorship system", which ties workers to their employer. Qatar promised to abolish kafala... in 2016.

... around 30,000 workers on projects specifically for the World Cup were supposed to have benefitted from stricter labour standards, ethical recruitment, timely payment, the banning of forced labour and new accommodation. It concluded that while these had led to "some real improvements", they were "not universally respected", and that last year World Cup organisers admitted that contractors working on one of the stadiums had breached a summer working hours ban...

An audit of 19 contractors working on World Cup sites also found that abuses such as excessive working hours remained at a majority of the companies...

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