"Alarming exploitation" of workers in Qatar: Amnesty

Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:51am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Amena Bakr and Brian Homewood

(Reuters) - Qatar's construction industry is rife with abuse of migrant workers who are "treated like cattle" and live in squalid accommodation, Amnesty International said on Sunday, calling on world soccer's governing body to help address the situation.

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup, and the human rights organization asked FIFA to work with the Qatari authorities to stamp out abuses of workers who mainly come from South Asia.

"Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar," said Amnesty International's secretary-general, Salil Shetty.

"FIFA has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup," he said.

"It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive.

"Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers," Shetty said.

An unnamed source at Qatar's foreign ministry told the state news agency QNA that the Gulf state "attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights".

The source said the government had on October 3 appointed the international law firm DLA Piper to conduct an independent and comprehensive review of the issue of migrant worker abuse.   Continued...

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty holds up a report titled "The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup", during a news conference in Doha November 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous