Can the 2022 World Cup leave a “positive legacy” in Qatar?

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP Workers relax on the Corniche in Doha on November 15, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

FOOTBALL – The time has come for Qatar. This Sunday, November 20, the first World Cup begins in the Arab world, which has caused so much criticism, especially on human rights.

At home, the worst attacks, mostly from Western Europe, have targeted foreign workers, with some NGOs putting the figure at 6,500 dead on construction sites, a figure Doha vehemently denies. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which can investigate, report deplorable conditions and multiple abuses of all kinds.

However, progress and efforts have been observed in this field in recent years Accelerated by the visibility provided by Mondial “, estimates with HuffPost May Romanos, Amnesty International researcher on the rights of migrant workers in the Gulf countries. A spotlight that could shine a light on the horror many workers in the field lived… and still live.

the end” to the head » and fight the heat

Working long hours in sweltering heat, ridiculous wages (if not paid late, at least), little or no rest day, no access to water during working hours, ” to the head »…

Five years after being selected as the host of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has been working on reforms since 2017 to phase in important labor reforms to strengthen the protection of the rights of migrant workers in the country. These changes include a law regulating working hours for workers, labor courts to facilitate access to justice, a back pay support fund and a minimum wage.

But one of the most important legal changes introduced by Qatar was to allow migrant workers to leave the country and change jobs without the permission of their employers. “kafala”. Another important reform was born a few years later, in 2021. In May this year, the government finally introduced a new regulation to extend the summer ban on working in the sun, without shade and ventilated areas, from 10:00 AM to 10:00 AM. June 1 – September 15 at 3:30 p.m.

Almost overnight, a country synonymous with labor oppression adopted the world’s most progressive heat protection strategy. “, summarizes Time in an article supported by Pulitzer Center. It is also noted that according to the ILO’s annual report on Qatar, the number of hospitalizations in health clinics for heat-related disorders fell from 1,520 in the summer of 2020 to 351 in the same season of 2022.

Years of work without a day off

But despite this good faith evidence, Qatar still has a long way to go before it becomes a haven in terms of respect for workers’ rights. In the 2021 reportHuman Rights Watch said foreign workers continue to suffer “Punitive and Illegal Wage Deductions” and faced “Months of unpaid wages for long hours of grueling work”.

May Romanos recalls recent testimonies from migrants working as security guards, who can work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week for months or even years.

Among them, some said they were forced to work shifts in the heat of summer without access to an indoor space or even drinking water.

The Qatari government is taking strict measures

In response to companies refusing to comply with Qatar’s new laws, Qatar’s Ministry of Labor closed more than 450 construction sites this summer for violating its heat protection policy. Time. Sanctions have also been imposed against employers who do not pay at least the minimum wage of 270 euros and remain in the system. to the head “.

But if this is a sign of effective monitoring, Time states that the ministry’s “no lacks executive capacity thus, offenders often return to work within days of being suspended. The government also does not have the ability to inspect each workplace often enough to ensure worker safety.

This was reported by the spokesman of the government of Qatar BBC that ” significant progress has been made to ensure effective implementation of the reforms, and the number of companies in breach will continue to decrease as enforcement actions are taken. »

The fear of seeing these efforts disappear after the World Cup

It is no coincidence that these laws were adopted in recent years just before the competition. Amnesty International remains convinced “this world cup” can still leave a positive legacy for human rights “, provided that urgent measures are taken and compensation is paid to the owed workers.

” This is a good “ The fact that the train received the World Cup, because the competition “moved things forward” in the reforms, also Emmanuel Macron, on Thursday, November 17 from Bangkok, against young people from the French high school gathered at the Thai boxing stadium in the capital.

May Romanos notes that after the World Cup, employee health still needs to be addressed. ” The Qatari government has said it is committed to continuing long-term reforms, but we fear that is easier said than done, especially when media attention is waning. »

See also The HuffPost:

Read also

World Cup: France 2022 squad compared to 2018

Is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar an environmental aberration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *