Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Email


Your Name:


Recipient Email:


Qatar, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its building sites, promised to include the Amnesty report in an inquiry it has already launched. -Photo by AP
Qatar, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its building sites, promised to include the Amnesty report in an inquiry it has already launched. -Photo by AP
Qatar, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its building sites, promised to include the Amnesty report in an inquiry it has already launched. -Photo by AP
Qatar, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its building sites, promised to include the Amnesty report in an inquiry it has already launched. -Photo by AP
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty holds up a report titled “The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup”, during a news conference in Doha. -Photo by Reuters
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty holds up a report titled “The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup”, during a news conference in Doha. -Photo by Reuters

NEW DELHI: South Asian rights groups called on Monday for a boycott of Qatar’s 2022 Football World Cup unless the Gulf state improves conditions for migrant construction workers that Amnesty International has slammed as deplorable.

Migrant workers, mostly from South or Southeast Asia, suffer “alarming” levels of exploitation, including non-payment of wages and hazardous working conditions as they toil to ready World Cup infrastructure, a new Amnesty report said.

Suhas Chakma, director of New Delhi-based Asian Centre for Human Rights, echoed Amnesty’s conclusions in its own report Monday, saying treatment of workers in the world’s wealthiest nation per capita was “inhuman”.

There has been an explosion in poverty-stricken migrants heading to Qatar where a construction boom is underway to ready the tiny gas-rich nation for the World Cup.

The preparations provide “an opportunity to expose the treatment of migrant workers by a rich nation”, Chakma said, adding countries which support human rights “should boycott the event”.

FIFA has faced huge criticism from rights groups since selecting Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its building sites, promised to include the Amnesty report in an inquiry it has already launched while FIFA said human rights must be respected.

C.R. Abrar, executive director of Bangladesh think-tank Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit, said all nations sending workers to Qatar should pressure Doha to “fast-track” labour reforms.

Amnesty said its researchers had heard one construction firm manager use the term “animals” to describe migrant workers while a worker told the watchdog that “Nepalis are treated like cattle”.

It said “the onus” was on Qatar to change its legislation and to enforce worker protections.

Abuses were systematic under a sponsorship system that “affords unscrupulous employers powers to exploit their employees, not least of which is the ability to prevent workers leaving the country”.

Abrar insisted that the system “must be abolished or reformed”.

Countries “should demand Doha set up an effective regulator to protect the interest of migrants”, he said.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch in New Delhi, said migrant workers in Qatar “risk serious exploitation and abuse” and called on FIFA to tell construction companies to uphold “international labour standards”.

Maja Daruwala, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi, said the migrants were “poor people... desperate for work and money”.

Countries “aspiring to hold major events should really take the opportunity to improve the conditions of migrant labourers,” Daruwala said.

—Contributions by AFP


Comments (9) Closed



naghman qureshi Nov 19, 2013 05:30pm

shame on fifa.they should move the games immediately.

bkt Nov 20, 2013 12:42am

And these groups just woke up to this kind of "exploitation"? It is actually quite the norm in most GCC countries and has been going on for the past 30 to 40 years at least. Just because Qatar now is hosting the world cup so they decided to notice it? Typical western hypocrisy is what it is

Mansoor Nov 20, 2013 06:50am

Good work by human right group, These games provide opportunity for the labor to earn much needed money but their safety and rights should be protected. However, we should not forget that these people do not enjoy these working standards even in their own countries. But a rich nation like Qattar should not exploit these poor people like that. Thumbs up to efforts by human rights group.

Sanjay Nov 20, 2013 08:12am

What are the United Nation's Human Rights Council and the International Labour Organization doing? This is a very old issue and is prevalent in most of the Middle-east countries in one form or the other. The Human Rights & Labour rights are being violated on a massive scale with an absolute impunity. UNHRC & ILO, please wake up and do something.

Kanwaljeet singh Nov 20, 2013 08:55am

why nations are sending the workers in the first place??

AKHTAR ALEEM SYED Nov 20, 2013 02:56pm

FIFA and the countries participating in the mega event must demonstrate zero tolerance against human abuse contemplating on bycott in case Doha fails to take immediate corrective measures.

Ebrahim Nov 20, 2013 07:07pm

The working conditions in the whole of Gulf Countries are same and the workers are normally coming on their free will. Maybe the Agents are the ones who do not give true picture of the working conditions. What was HR doing for the last over 40 years?

Ijaz Nov 20, 2013 08:04pm

@Kanwaljeet singh: Nations are not sending workers there. Sadly the poor of countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan go there out of desparation. They then end up being exploited by middle men and Arabs alike.

SaeedS Nov 21, 2013 06:14am

Living condition of these workers is more worst in there native countries . At least over there they have money and work. These HR take care of there own countries first and than complaint about other countries.