ILO demands labor reforms from Qatar

Published April 1st, 2014 - 10:57 GMT
Qatar has come under fire for treatment of migrant workers who travel to the country for construction jobs related to the FIFA World Cup. (AFP/File)
Qatar has come under fire for treatment of migrant workers who travel to the country for construction jobs related to the FIFA World Cup. (AFP/File)

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has slammed Qatar over its treatment of migrant workers.

The ILO called on Qatar authorities to implement a set of reforms to put an end to the human rights abuse against the workers.

The criticism was based on the findings of a three-person panel comprised of a Chinese government representative, an employee representative from the United Arab Emirates and a worker representative from Nepal.

According to figures released by Indian and Nepalese embassies, 36 workers died in Qatar in February. The Indian embassy said 26 other Indian migrant workers died in March.

The British daily Guardian reported in February that more than 380 Nepalese workers died in Qatar in 2013 and 2012 and that over 500 Indian workers had died in the Arab country since January 2012.

“The committee calls on the government to take effective measures to ensure that adequate sanctions are applied to employers who impose forced labor,” the ILO has stated.

Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said that the ILO criticism of Qatar “is exceptionally strong, and confirms the appalling lack of even the most basic legal protections for Qatar’s exploited migrant workforce.”

“Qatar’s rulers must end their system of modern slavery and accept that their outdated and repressive labor laws have to change,” Burrow added.

The ILO has given Qatar until November to give a report on reforms to its labor laws.

Foreign workers cannot change jobs or leave Qatar without the permission of their sponsors, who are often Qatari companies or individuals who provide workers to businesses for profit.

Most of the sponsors take away the passports of the workers, who are mostly in the construction sector, for the duration of their contract.


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