Alarming exploitation of labour in Qatar: Amnesty
Paris, November 18, 2013
Qatar's construction industry is rife with abuse of migrant workers who are "treated like cattle" and live in squalid accommodation exposed to overflowing sewage, Amnesty International said in a report.
The country will host the 2022 World Cup and Amnesty called on world soccer's governing body Fifa to work with the Qatari authorities to stamp out abuses of workers who mainly come from South Asia.
"Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar," said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty.
"Fifa has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup."
"It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world, that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive," he said.
"Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers.
"Many are taking advantage of a permissive environment and lax enforcement of labour protections to exploit construction workers."
Amnesty is the latest organisation to focus on treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, following similarly scathing reports by Britain's Guardian newspaper and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
Amnesty said it had carried out interviews with around 210 migrant workers in the construction industry during two visits to the country in October, 2012 and March, 2013.
It also held meetings with 22 companies involved in construction projects and met government representatives on more than a dozen occasions.
The report said abuses included "non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and shocking standards of accommodation."
Amnesty also said its researchers met dozens of construction workers who were prevented from leaving the country for many months by their employers.
In one case, Nepalese workers employed by a company delivering critical supplies to a construction project associated with Fifa's planned headquarters for the tournament said they were "treated like cattle", the report said, adding that they were working up to 12 hours per day and seven days a week even during Qatar's searing summer heat.
Researchers also found migrant workers living in squalid, overcrowded accommodation with no air conditioning, exposed to overflowing sewage and uncovered septic tanks.
"Researchers witnessed 11 men signing papers in front of government officials falsely confirming that they had received their wages, in order to get their passports back to leave Qatar," Amnesty said.
Fifa said the respect of human rights was part of all of its activities.
"Fifa firmly believes in the positive power that the World Cup can have in Qatar and in the Middle East as a great opportunity for the region to discover football as a platform for positive social change, including an improvement of labour rights and conditions for migrant workers," the ruling body said in a statement.
"It is Fifa's aim that the host countries of our flagship event ensure healthy, safe and dignified working conditions for all - nationals and foreigners, including construction workers - involved in the preparation of the event." - Reuters
More Construction & Real Estate Stories
- Damac launches luxury apartments at Expo site
- Kuwaitis top GCC property buyers in Oman
- Rubber World to showcase at Big 5 Saudi
- Tool to help create effective property listings
- 'Smart' move by Dubai Design District
- Drake unit wins $13m contract in India
- Solar-powered cleaning boats launched in Sharjah
- $27m Expo Hotel Sharjah deal signed
- Arabtec unit wins $282m Emaar contract
- Abu Dhabi to host pool & spa expo
- ADCM unit secures $213m bridging loan
- Cluttons Dubai launches new luxury apartments
- Dubai developer Damac profits triple to $641m
- Dubai to start work on $544m water canal
- Dubai property market can absorb 25,000 units
- Jones Lang LaSalle renamed 'JLL'
- Aldar raises synergy estimate from Sorouh merger
- UAE industrial property sector keeps up growth
- Dubai residential property prices up 26pc
- Majid Al Futtaim to build new mall in Dubai IMPZ
- 300 firms to take part in Dubai property forum
- Naseej inks deal to develop Bahrain projects
- Dadabhai unveils new residential project
- Flowcrete completes Dubai Mall project
- Global asphalt demand hits new high
- $1.3bn infrastructure investment firm set up in Saudi
- Manara sees big project villa success
- Global giants eye RAK utility projects
- Cayan partners with international artist Zsuzsanna
- Samsung, Hyundai win $1.7bn Iraq deals