'Significant improvements' in Qatar's treatment of migrant workers : ILO
The University of Lausanne report assessed the level of adherence of the Qatari regulations to the ILO principles on labour conditions. (File photo)
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There has been a significant improvement in the migrant workers' living conditions and also their rights in Qatar following a critical report from the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) tripartite inspection commission three years ago.
Two assessments - a report of the ILO tripartite inspection commission and a legal assessment from Prof Christian Favre from the University of Lausanne - carried in March showed large improvements in the condition of the workers, mainly those involved in Fifa 2022 infrastructure projects.
Both the reports state that these efforts could provide ideas for the management of Europe's migrants crisis.
The migrant crisis is challenging all industrialised countries. Millions fleeing war, poverty and persecutions in their home country are finding refuge in industrialised countries in order to build a decent future for themselves and their family, creating social, economical and political turmoil in each single western country. The answer so far has been to build walls, said the report.
Voices such as that of UK Prime Minister David Cameron are rising to drive another way, putting work at the centre of efforts for sustainable policies on integration.
That's why the Observatory on Security (OUS) from the University of Geneva and the Centre Independant de Recherche et d'Initiatives pour le Dialogue (Cirid), have supported the report realised by Prof Favre to assess the level of adherence of the Qatari regulation to the ILO principles on labour conditions.
Created in 2013 as an independent research center among the Global Studies Institute, the OUS follows the will of its founders, teachers and researchers of the University of Geneva, to bring together their expertise in the field of security research.
It also aims at offering thought leadership on key socioeconomic issues, and to act as a local and international platform for a better understanding of the security challenges of today and tomorrow.
Cirid is a non governmental organisation with the Consultative Status at the Social and Economical Council of the United Nations' Presidence and General Secretary.
This report was published the same week as the ILO tripartite inspection commission in Qatar that depicts an even more encouraging picture of these migrant workers' conditions improvements.
With an overwhelming migrant population relative to a rather small number of national citizens, pressured by NGOs and economical interests on both ends, Qatar seems a good case study on how to organise migrant work in a difficult environment.
Both reports from Prof Favre and the ILO tripartite commission show how it is possible to enforce decent labour conditions in a short period of time, improving both national and expatriate interests and dignity.
Indeed, some aspects of the regulation and their practical implementation need to be improved (exit visa system, reporting of abuses, penalties and work inspections) and some others improved dramatically (such as the wage control system, the modification of the job's regulation, security and job changes, the abandon of the kefala system for the end of 2016), said the assessment report.
According to Prof Favre, these results were achieved with the commitment of the institutions, a strong political will, supported by massive public investments.
They are the cornerstones of a successful regulation benefitting every actor according to the proposed milestones. This case study could drive ideas for western countries regarding the management of a massive new migrant workforce, respecting the interests and promoting dignity of all parties, he added.
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