A RE­SPONSE TO AMNESTY'S CRIT­I­CISM

Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS > LOCAL -

The Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Of­fice re­leased a state­ment to counter the claims made by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional which at­tacked the slow pace of labour re­forms in the coun­try.

On the eve of the an­niver­sary of Qatar win­ning the bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, Amnesty is­sued a re­port that crit­i­cized how Qatar has done “al­most noth­ing ef­fec­tive to end chronic la­bor ex­ploita­tion”, and also im­pli­cated FIFA for be­ing a pas­sive by­stander. In re­sponse, Qatar's Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Of­fice is­sued a state­ment ar­gu­ing that the re­port “does not ac­cu­rately re­flect the progress we have made in re­form­ing our labour sys­tem”. “The Gov­ern­ment feels that Amnesty's re­port­ing lacks con­text, as it does not bench­mark labour con­di­tions in Qatar against labour con­di­tions in other coun­tries fac­ing sim­i­lar chal­lenges. Qatar fully in­tends to meet the high­est stan­dards with re­gard to labour but for rea­sons that are un­clear, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional has pro­vided no com­par­a­tive data on labour con­di­tions in other coun­tries em­ploy­ing large num­bers of guest work­ers to meet the de­mands of rapid growth and de­vel­op­ment,” the state­ment said. The of­fice re­it­er­ated that sig­nif­i­cant re­forms were be­ing made for the mi­grant work­force, cit­ing ex­am­ples like the in­tro­duc­tion of the Wage Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem, which re­quires com­pa­nies to pay employees' wages di­rectly into bank ac­counts. The state­ment ad­dressed lo­cal per­cep­tions of the in­ef­fec­tive­ness of the new laws. “Far from ‘tin­ker­ing on the edges' of re­form, Qatar has made, and will con­tinue to make changes in our laws that will help en­sure that the rights of both work­ers and their em­ploy­ers are re­spected,” it said.

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