Amnesty report alleges labour abuse at Qatar World Cup venue

Mostly low-paid workers hailing from India, Nepal and Bangladesh forced to live in squalid quarters, with salary or passport being withheld.

March 31, 2016 05:57 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST - DUBAI:

In this combination of eight file photos taken on a government-organized media tour Sunday, laborers pose for a portrait at a workers' accommodation camp, in Doha, Qatar. Migrant laborers faced abuse that in some cases amounted to forced labor while working on a stadium that will host soccer matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a new report released by Amnesty International alleged on Thursday.

In this combination of eight file photos taken on a government-organized media tour Sunday, laborers pose for a portrait at a workers' accommodation camp, in Doha, Qatar. Migrant laborers faced abuse that in some cases amounted to forced labor while working on a stadium that will host soccer matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a new report released by Amnesty International alleged on Thursday.

Migrant labourers, including from India, faced abuse that in some cases amounted to forced labour while working on a stadium that will host soccer matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a new report released by Amnesty International alleged on Thursday.

Rights groups and news organizations have previously raised serious concerns about working conditions in Qatar, but the latest Amnesty report stands out because it links alleged mistreatment directly to work on a World Cup venue.

Will put Qatar under pressure

The group’s findings will intensify pressure on Qatar to accelerate labour reforms as the tiny and immensely rich Gulf country races to transform itself with sweeping infrastructure projects ahead of the games.

Amnesty compiled the 52-page report based on interviews from February to May last year with 132 construction workers at the Khalifa International Stadium, one of the several arenas that will host World Cup matches.

Most were from India, Nepal, Bangladesh

The London-based group also interviewed 99 migrants doing landscaping work in a surrounding sports complex that is not directly related to the games, and three other gardeners working elsewhere.

Foreigners account for roughly 90 per cent of the 2.5 million people living in Qatar, many of them low-paid migrant workers from South Asia. Most of the workers interviewed in the Amnesty report were from Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Some sort of abuse

All of those interviewed reported some kind of abuse, including squalid or crowded living quarters, salary payments being withheld for months, and measures including passport confiscation that make it difficult to leave the country.

Migrant workers elsewhere in Qatar have reported similar problems previously. Many in the Amnesty report said their sponsoring employer failed to obtain or renew their working permits, leaving the workers subject to fines and detention.

They have to pay illegal recruitment fees

Each reported going into debt to pay recruitment fees illegal under Qatari law ranging from $500 to $4,300 to secure work. Most discovered on arrival that they would be paid less than promised by recruiters back home. Some of those interviewed reported earning basic salaries of well below $200 a month, plus allowances of around $50 a month for food.

The report’s most damning findings centre on what Amnesty says is evidence of forced labour involving workers employed on the refurbishment of the Khalifa stadium, a venue first built in the 1970s that is being overhauled to host World Cup matches.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.