Amnesty International called on FIFA to exert more pressure on Qatar to improve conditions for foreign workers, as part of the Gulf state’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar has undertaken a series of reforms to employment laws since it was chosen to host the largest event in football around the world, which required a massive construction program with migrant workers.
However, Amnesty International fears that the reform measures that have been taken in Qatar will set back.
The human rights organization said in a statement: “Qatar has taken a number of positive reforms in recent years, in part in response to increasing pressure after winning the bid to host the World Cup.”
Amnesty International added, “But in most cases these reforms are not applied properly, and thousands of workers are still exposed to exploitation and violation of rights.”
Amnesty International believes that proposals under discussion in the Qatari Shura Council “are capable of erasing much of the progress that resulted from previous reforms, including re-imposing restrictions on workers’ rights to change jobs and leave the country.”
However, these proposals still require government approval.
The French News Agency quoted official sources in Doha as saying that these proposals will not be approved by the government.
Qatar responded, in a statement today, Monday, that progress is being made as quickly as possible, while making sure that it is commensurate with the labor market.
The Qatar Government Communications Office said that reforming the regulatory procedures for work is a complex task that takes time and requires the use of effective and long-term solutions.
“We believe that the best way to reach these solutions is through dialogue and participation. The government is committed to working closely with its international partners, including Amnesty International,” the government office added in its statement.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino called for fairness when assessing Qatar’s human rights record.
We need to be fair here (in Qatar) and acknowledge that a lot of progress has been made … on the level of employment conditions. More can be done everywhere, always … even in Switzerland. “
Amnesty International called on Infantino to carry out “independent and periodic” inspections of all sites that will host the 2022 World Cup in order to track down and prevent any violations.
“The opportunity is open for FIFA to improve conditions for migrant workers in Qatar,” said Amnesty International.
The day before yesterday, Saturday, the decision to implement the minimum wage for workers in Qatar came into effect at $ 275 per month. Qatar is the first country in the region to take this decision.
The Qatari Ministry of Labor believes that the changes are sufficient to “support investment in the local economy and boost the engine of economic growth.”
In October 2019, Qatar announced plans to abolish the controversial sponsorship system, in which workers need to obtain employer approval to change jobs or leave the country – a system that rights groups have criticized and say it helps violate migrant workers’ rights.