DOHA: Qatar’s Foreign Minister has promised a report shortly into the working conditions of migrant workers as a sign that the 2022 World Cup host is serious about promises of change.
He even promised that critics would be “astonished” at the eventual steps taken.
Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said the report examining working and living conditions for low-income expats in Qatar had been commissioned from DLA Piper last autumn after widespread international media coverage of labour abuses.
Local media sources quoted Al Attiyah as saying the point of the report was not “to polish the image of Qatar” but to upgrade standard of living of its workforce.
He added: “Our constitution requires the treatment of employees and workers at a level befitting their humanity . . . We do not fear that there might be mistakes, but we do not accept that work on the correction of such mistakes is not done: our main objective is to develop our country to the level which calls for valuable humanity which it always deserves.”
Al Attiyah’s comments followed the visit of a European Parliament delegation whose members had said they appreciated Qatar’s promises but needed to see words about reforming the restrictive system of kafala turned into actions.
The Minister added: “Everyone will be astonished at the steps taken by Qatar and what it will be doing to correct mistakes, if there are any.”
A workers’ charter has been published by the Supreme Committee organising the World Cup hosting but this has been judged insufficient by international trade unions, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations.
All have insisted that employment practices need to be overhauled throughout the state and not only in relation to specific World Cup projects.