Qatar is an oil-rich Arab state located to the north of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The country had been granted the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, despite the fact that it has been criticized by international human rights agencies for its repressive treatment of the foreign workers.
The population of Qatar is around 2.2 million, of which the native Qataris comprise only about 10 percent. Most of the workers in the oil-rich country are from the Asian countries of Bangladesh, India and Nepal. These workers face violations of basic rights that has been mentioned in the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR).
Qatar Under the Spotlight for Human Rights Abuses
Amnesty International and number of other human rights agencies have revealed that most of the migrant workers in Qatar are paid unfairly and many are treated in many respects like slaves. They are forced to live in squalid and cramped labor camps and some even subject to physical abuse. An estimated 1.5 million workers or 60 percent of the total Qatar population live under this condition.
The abusive ‘kafala’ sponsorship laws literally trap the workers preventing them from returning to their home countries. Expat employees, mostly from South Asia are stripped of their exit permits and passports. If the workers try to leave the country, they are detained and subjected to harsh treatments.
According to international observers, the legal system in the oil-rich Arab country is abusive and corrupt. The labor camps in the country are increasing since the announcement of the soccer World Cup in Qatar. The government had promised to make reforms, but at the moment,the conditions at the labor camps are far from humane.
Trade union activists including ILO have highlighted that the workers in the country face gross violations of basic rights including poor living standards and health and safety conditions. The government officials, however, are trying to deflect the blame with only ministry official stating that the issues are caused by the recruitment practices in their own countries.
Qatar had become the center of international attention after the announcement of the 2022 World Cup to be held in the country. However, it has also surfaced horrid and abusive treatment of expat workers in the country.
The local Qataris are given preferential treatment while the expats are subjected to gross abuse. One Dutch woman stated that she had been raped by a local resident in the hotel. However, the authorities rather than punishing the culprit, convicted her of committing adultery and detained her for more than three months.
The international human rights agencies have exposed the real face of Qatar. The country relies on millions of low paid Asian and African workers for development work. Their system has been regarding as abusive and corrupt by international observers. While the government has promised to take action, no meaningful reforms have been introduced to put an end to the abuse.