Euro MPs add voice to Qatar labour concerns

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The European Parliament has stepped into the dispute over conditions for labourers in Qatar, saying it is "concerned" about reports of abuse.

In a statement, MEPs said they were "concerned about the situation of the migrant workers in Qatar" and called for the speedy adoption of the draft law on domestic workers, currently being debated in the Supreme Council of Family Affairs.

In a 35-22 vote with four abstentions, the parliament insisted the alleged abuses should be fully investigated. MEPs also called on Qatari authorities to stop detaining individuals for ”running away” from their employers.

MEPs noted that at least 500,000 more migrant workers are expected in Qatar to accelerate work in preparation for the 2022 World Cup and urged FIFA to "send a clear and strong message to Qatar to prevent the preparations for the 2022 football World Cup being overshadowed by allegations of forced labour".

MEPs also appealed to the European corporations involved in building stadiums or other infrastructure projects in Qatar to provide working conditions that are in line with international human rights standards.

In a separate statement, FIFA said it welcomed the European Parliament resolution which it said was in line with steps agreed at a meeting between FIFA and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on Wednesday.

The statement said: "FIFA has made it very clear in all previous official statements, as well as in the context of contacts with human rights organisations in the past, that it upholds respect for human rights and the application of international norms of behaviour as a principle and as part of all of its activities.

"FIFA, as world football’s governing body and the organiser of football’s flagship event, strongly believes that football can play an important role in generating public awareness and triggering positive social change in the host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

FIFA added: "In order to achieve a sustainable improvement of working conditions in Qatar and the wider region, a joint effort by FIFA, the business sector, the international political community and the Qatari authorities is required.

"FIFA remains open to cooperate with all relevant bodies and authorities to tackle this issue and to ensure that the protection of migrant workers continues to be addressed with urgency."

Amnesty International, Britain's Guardian newspaper and the International Trade Union Confederation have delivered scathing reports on the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar in the last few months.

The reports say the construction industry is rife with abuse of migrant workers who often work long hours in searing heat, live in squalid accommodation and are sometimes denied their wages.

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