Abuses against migrant workers in Qatar continue a year after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, human rights organization Amnesty International charged Thursday.
Before, during and after the World Cup, the gas-rich emirate faced a barrage of criticism over its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.
To address this, Qatar, with the help of the International Labor Organization (ILO), revised its labor laws, introducing a minimum wage and health and safety reforms, and dismantled its controversial system sponsorship “Kafala”. But for Steve Cockburn, director of Amnesty International's Economic and Social Justice program, "Qatar's continued failure to implement or strengthen these reforms seriously jeopardizes any potential benefits for workers."
“The government must urgently renew its commitment to protecting workers, while the International Football Federation (Fifa) and Qatar must agree reparations plans for all those who have suffered,” he added.
Amnesty and other human rights groups have repeatedly called on Qatar and international football's governing body to create a fund for the injured and families of workers who died on World Cup construction sites. Qatar has disputed the number of accidental deaths on these construction sites, which human rights defenders say are in the thousands, and accused its critics of practicing a policy of double standards.
“Today, a year on from the tournament, too little has been done to right all these wrongs, but the workers who made the 2022 World Cup possible must not be forgotten,” Mr Cockburn said.
Amnesty criticized the maintenance of the minimum wage at its 2021 level, despite the rising cost of living, and said shortcomings persisted in non-payment of wages and mobility of workers between different jobs. In a report released earlier this week, the ILO office in Qatar noted cases of retaliation by employers against workers who request to change jobs, including the cancellation of work visas. residence or filing false fleeing charges. However, this body stressed that the complaints on cases of this type that it receives have “considerably decreased compared to previous years”.
Saudi Arabia, which aims to host the 2034 World Cup, has been urged to make human rights commitments by leading rights groups.
Amnesty said that "the abuses linked to the 2022 World Cup should serve as a reminder to sports bodies that human rights must always be at the heart of decisions made when awarding events."
Responding to Amnesty's statement, the Qatar International Media Bureau, a government body, said the World Cup had "accelerated" social reforms in the country, leaving a "lasting legacy." He added that the reforms introduced were "an example for other countries on how a system can be successfully overhauled" and that "existing reforms continue to be fully implemented."