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Amnesty: Qatar’s moves to curb migrant exploitation ‘woefully insufficient’

Amnesty accuses the Qatari authorities of dragging their feet on needed changes to the labor law

Published: Updated:

Amnesty International on Wednesday criticized Qatar’s steps to end migrant exploitation as “woefully insufficient.”

The rights group said the Gulf state has made “only minimal progress” on previously announced plans to curb migrant exploitation, an issue that made global headlines over the past year and prompted calls for Qatar to be stripped of the World Cup organization.

“Time is running out fast. It has been four years since Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup, putting itself in the global spotlight, so far its response to migrant labour abuses has not been much more than promises of action and draft laws,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.

“Urgent action is needed to ensure we do not end up with a World Cup tournament that is built on forced labour and exploitation,” Elsayed-Ali added, in statements posted on Amnesty’s website.

He accused the Qatari authorities of dragging their feet on needed changes to the labor law, including scrapping the exit permit and reforming its “abusive sponsorship system.”

The rights group said it has previously highlighted to Qatar “exploitative practices,” such as the delays in payment of migrants’ wages, harsh working conditions and “shocking details of forced labour and physical and sexual violence.”

The group says the measures taken by the country since May to improve conditions of migrants have been insufficient.

“Six months later, only a handful of the limited measures announced in May have even been partially implemented. Overall the steps taken so far are woefully insufficient,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

“By failing to act quickly to address the gaping holes in its human rights record, Qatar risks seriously damaging its credibility and calling into question its commitment to human rights.”