QP, Q22 promise to take action following Amnesty report; Govt appoints law firm to conduct independent review
Amnesty International’s report – ‘The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup’ – has once again placed the country under harsh global spotlight.
The report named big organisations as being party to violations and also called on the government to take immediate action.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed DLA Piper – a global law firm – to conduct ‘a comprehensive and independent review’ of the status of foreign workers in Qatar, the ministry said.
The report was presented to Qatar’s Prime Minister, Labour Minister and other senior officials including the Qatar 2022 Organising committee, before the official release.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (Q22) released a statement, which said that in December it would release a set of standards to ensure welfare of the workers involved in projects related to the World Cup. All companies working on Q22 projects will have to mandatorily comply with the standards, and their performances will be monitored.
In a statement Qatar Petroleum (QP) has said that the company was ‘deeply concerned’ about labour issues mentioned in the report, and that it would conduct a thorough investigation into the issues pertaining to one of its major projects.
A day after the report was released, QDVC, a Qatari shareholding company which works on the FIFA cluster, arranged a media tour of its labour camp and project sites to demonstrate its ‘transparency’ and ‘excellent working conditions’ offered to their workers. Media persons were given a tour of the living quarters, kitchens, training exercises and other such facilities provided to the workers by the company.
One of the main recommendations by Amnesty was the abolition of exit permits and reforming the sponsorship system.
However, yesterday Qatar’s Attorney-General Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri told QNA that he saw the hand of “some unsuccessful FIFA 2022 bidders behind The Guardian reports of alleged abuse of migrant workers in the country.”
The Attorney-General also said some 3,000 cases were filed by Bangladeshi and Nepali workers against big companies and the rulings were in their favour. “What does this show? This reflects that there is total justice in Qatar. Our systems are based on justice. Remember that the owners of some of these companies are influential people.” He did add that if there were faults in the system, corrective action would be taken.