Labor abuse still 'rampant' in Qatar five years after world cup bid: rights group

Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:00pm EST
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DOHA, (Reuters) - Labor abuse remains "rampant" in Qatar despite some reforms introduced since the Gulf Arab state won the right to organize the World Cup five years ago, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

In a statement released before the anniversary of Qatar winning host status for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the rights group said Qatar's "kafala", or work-sponsorship system, puts foreign workers at the mercy of their employers. Foreigners account for 94 percent of Qatar's work force.

Qatar's Labor Ministry declined to comment on the statement, which described recent amendments to labor laws as just "tinkering".

A ministry official dismissed similar reports by NGOs as aiming to "create negative publicity about Qatar abroad".

Accusations of graft during its World Cup bid as well as concerns about provisions inside stadiums and the heat of summer months have cast a shadow over the gas-producing nation's efforts to become the competition's first Arab host.   Continued...

Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union display red cards and shout slogans during a protest in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA in Zurich October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann