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JustHere | December 10, 2016

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Amnesty: Labour inspection system needs to change; Not enough labour inspectors

Amnesty: Labour inspection system needs to change; Not enough labour inspectors

One of the biggest issues Qatar faces in terms of keeping a watch on migrant rights violations is the lack of sufficient labour inspectors and a proper inspection system.

With the 14 inspectors who recently took office, there are still only 164, though officials had said it would increase to 250.
Amnesty in its report released last night emphasised this. “There are not enough labour inspectors for the size of Qatar’s workforce of nearly 1.5 million people.”
The ministry had said 42,624 labour inspections were carried out in 2012, which suggests 321 inspections per inspector, accounting for more than one inspection a day. The Labour Ministry had also confirmed this, saying each inspector carries out at least two inspections per day, and that ‘some manage three or four in a day’.
This and the extent to which inspectors can communicate to workers is a matter of concern, says James Lynch, lead researcher on the report.

At a press conference last evening he stressed the need to change the system, and also to review the penalty for violations. “It is only six months imprisonment for forced labour, and this is not adequate at all.”
Financial penalties for other violations is not clear.
Amnesty’s recommendations on this issue, include:

  • Significantly increase the number of competent Labour inspectors as a matter of urgency, ensuring that either a significant proportion of Labour inspectors are able to speak the languages used by workers or are accompanied by competent translators;
  • Change the nature of inspections to ensure that they are thorough and involve detailed investigation into conditions across a company’s operations;
  • Compile and publish detailed data on workplace injuries and fatalities;
  • Review the penalties applicable under law for serious exploitation of workers, including the crime of Forced Labour as specified in the Penal Code, and violations of the Labour Law, to ensure that they are adequate and in line with Qatar’s international obligations.
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