DOHA: Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organisers have met representatives of Amnesty International concerning issues raised over workers’ rights in the Gulf state.
A statement from the 2022 Supreme Committee claimed “a productive discussion took place covering a range of topics.”
Those topis included the Q22 Workers’ Welfare Standards and the formation of the Q22 Worker Welfare Committee. The two organisations agreed to keep up the dialogue.
Amnesty and other human rights group have criticised Qatar for not moving fast enough; the issue of the medieval kafala system has been highlighted by the plight of the ‘trapped’ Franco-Algerian footballer Zahir Belounis.
A Qatar 2022 statement said: “In 2013, Q22 released its Workers’ Charter and, at the end of this year, it will release its Workers’ Welfare Standards—aligned with Qatari law and international best practice—which set clear guidelines from recruitment to repatriation.
“Compliance with the law and Q22’s standards will be a contractual obligation for companies working on Q22 projects and will be transparently and robustly monitored through a three-tier compliance and auditing structure.”
Critics have note the organisers’ words while also pointing out that they apply only to directly-related World Cup projects and not to other infrastructure essential to support the hosting of the finals.
Qatar 2022 added: welcomed Amnesty’s acknowledgesment of “the positive steps Q22 is taking to ensure contractors uphold human rights standards; Q22’s commitment to transparency with regard to the development and implementation of its Workers Welfare Standards; and
“The responsibility for the welfare of workers is shared by all parties involved in the chain of contracting including the government of Qatar, the governments of sending countries, recruitment agencies and the companies that utilize them.”