Monday, 18th November, 2013

Qatar must act fast to protect migrant workers, including those involved in 2022 World Cup projects, as reports of "an alarming level of exploitation" further diminish the Middle East nation's position.

According to a report by Amnesty International, migrant workers in Qatar are continuing to face severe exploitation with conditions described as animal-like, both at construction sites and at workers' homes.


FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter have been under intense pressure to raise and resolve the issues related to construction sites for the 2022 World Cup, but the problem appears to be one that involves the nation as a whole.

Amnesty International's report includes case studies and interviews that highlight various issues, especially around non-payment of salaries, unhealthy working conditions, and withholding passports to prevent workers leaving Qatar.


There have been several reports around cases of deaths due to apparent negligence, with access to hospitals and even safety equipment deemed sub-standard.

Evidence of forced labour became global news in September thanks to a report in The Guardian, and Amnesty has now urged stricter action.

"It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world, that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive", Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said.

"Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers.

"The world’s spotlight will continue to shine on Qatar in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup offering the government a unique chance to demonstrate on a global stage that they are serious about their commitment to human rights and can act as a role model to the rest of the region.

"Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar. FIFA has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup."

The Amnesty report states that migrants, in many cases, are being forced to live in squalid conditions, with little or no access to running water for example, while they are also forced to work beyond the legal daily allowance, including in the searing summer months.

"Unless critical, far-reaching steps are taken immediately, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, who will be recruited in the coming years to deliver Qatar’s vision, face a high risk of being abused", Shetty added.

"Many migrants arrive in Qatar full of hopes, only to have these crushed soon after they arrive. There’s no time to delay – the government must act now to end this abuse."

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