Rights group slams Qatar over treatment of expat workers

Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms claims Qatar has imposed ban on annual leave, cancelled all leave requests
Rights group slams Qatar over treatment of expat workers
(Image: www.sc.qa)
By Staff writer
Thu 06 Jul 2017 02:02 PM

The Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms has voiced grave concerns over Qatar's treatment of its 2.2 million expat workers.

The organisation said it has sent an urgent appeal to the offices of both the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, asking them to intervene.

According to state news agency WAM, the association claimed the Qatari government has enforced a ban on its citizens and expatriate workers from taking their annual leave, and cancelled all leave requests.

Mohammed Hayef, spokesman of the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms, was quoted as saying this is likely to cause a "great danger to the working conditions of migrant workers".

Hayef said that by preventing people from taking their annual leave, rates of serious and fatal work accidents could increase, "due to depriving workers and placing them under harsh working conditions and physical, psychological and social pressures".

He added that this is especially true for workers in companies that oversee the construction projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The appeal called for the intervention of the International Labour organisation and the Human Rights High Commission to condemn Qatar's decision, Hayef said.

"By this unjust decision, Qatar has violated the most important universal and humanitarian provision in the International Labour Organisation's constitution," Hayef added.

In April, the head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup committee insisted that “great progress” has been made regarding workers’ rights in the country.

London-based Impactt, an ethical trade consultancy, found that as well as working 18 hours a day, twice the maximum amount permitted by Qatar law, half of the 10 contracting companies surveyed in the compliance report failed to give their employees even one day off per week.

But Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said the country has made significant strides in addressing the welfare of workers on the World Cup sites.

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Last Updated: Fri 07 Jul 2017 11:46 PM GST

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