Unions accuse Qatar of ”modern slavery”


Qatar has pledged to reform the conditions and rights of migrant workers in the country – especially ahead of the massive undertaking of preparing for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

However, despite the fact that the country won the bid to host the world cup in 2010 – human rights organization Amnesty International published a report in May of this year, claiming that the country had done close to nothing to improve the rights of migrant workers.

Now, international trade unions are voicing concerns of what they call “modern slavery” in the country.

“Promises of reform have been used as a smokescreen to draw in companies and governments to do business in Qatar as the Gulf state rolls out massive infrastructure developments to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in a statement.

“The tragedy of 1.7 million migrant workers trapped in Qatar defines modern day slavery,” Burrow said.

Burro is referring to the fact that many migrant workers need the permission of their employers to leave the country.

Qatar’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani signed legislation in late October, which would give foreign workers the right to appeal to a government committee if their employer fails to sanction their exit.

Qatar is one of the few countries in the world that requires workers to acquire permission from the state and their employers before travelling abroad – a policy that has been widely criticized by human rights organizations.