Qatar not too long ago arrested a minimum of 60 international employees who protested going months with out pay and deported a few of them, an advocacy group mentioned, simply three months earlier than Doha hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The transfer comes as Qatar faces intense worldwide scrutiny over its labor practices forward of the match. Like different Gulf Arab nations, Qatar closely depends on international labor. The employees’ protest per week in the past – and Qatar’s response to it – might additional gas the priority.
The pinnacle of a labor consultancy investigating the incident mentioned the detentions forged new doubt on Qatar’s pledges to enhance the remedy of employees. “Is that this actually the fact popping out?” requested Mustafa Qadri, government director of the group Equidem.
In an announcement to The Related Press on Sunday evening, Qatar’s authorities acknowledged that “various protesters have been detained for breaching public security legal guidelines.” It declined to supply any details about the arrests or any deportations.
Video footage posted on-line confirmed some 60 employees indignant about their salaries protesting on Aug. 14 outdoors of the Doha workplaces of Al Bandary Worldwide Group, a conglomerate that features building, actual property, resorts, meals service and different ventures. A few of these demonstrating hadn’t obtained their salaries for as many as seven months, Equidem mentioned.
The protesters blocked an intersection on Doha’s C Ring Highway in entrance of the Al Shoumoukh Tower. The footage matched identified particulars of the road, together with it having a number of huge portraits of Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, trying down on passers-by.
Al Bandary Worldwide Group, which is privately owned, didn’t reply to requests for remark and a phone quantity registered in its title didn’t join on a number of makes an attempt to name it.
The agency hadn’t paid salaries
The Qatari authorities acknowledged that the agency hadn’t paid salaries and that its Labor Ministry would pay “all delayed salaries and advantages” to these affected. “The corporate was already below investigation by the authorities for nonpayment of wages earlier than the incident, and now additional motion is being taken after a deadline to settle excellent wage funds was missed,” the federal government mentioned.
Qadri mentioned police later arrested the protesters and held them in a detention middle the place some described being in a stifling warmth with out air con. Doha’s temperature this week reached round 41 levels Celsius (105.8 levels Fahrenheit).
Qadri described police telling these held that if they’ll strike in scorching climate, they’ll sleep with out air con. One detained employee who referred to as Equidem from the detention middle described seeing as many as 300 of his colleagues there from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nepal and the Philippines. He mentioned some had been paid salaries after the protest whereas others hadn’t. His feedback couldn’t be corroborated.
Qatar, like different Gulf Arab nations, has previously deported demonstrating international employees, and tied residency visas to employment. The precise to type unions stays tightly managed and accessible solely to Qataris, as is the nation’s restricted proper to meeting, in keeping with the Washington-based advocacy group Freedom Home.
Qatar, a small, energy-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula, is residence to the state-funded Al Jazeera satellite tv for pc information community. Nevertheless, expression within the nation stays tightly managed. Final yr, Qatar detained and later deported a Kenyan safety guard who wrote and spoke publicly in regards to the woes of the nation’s migrant labor pressure.
Steps to overtake the nation’s employment practices
Since FIFA awarded the match to Qatar in 2010, the nation has taken some steps to overtake the nation’s employment practices. That features eliminating its so-called kafala employment system, which tied employees to their employers, who had say over whether or not they might go away their jobs and even the nation.
Qatar additionally has adopted a minimal month-to-month wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275) for employees and required meals and housing allowances for workers not receiving that straight from their employers.
Activists like Qadri have referred to as on Doha to do extra, notably on the subject of making certain employees obtain their salaries on time and are shielded from abusive employers.
“Have all of us been duped by Qatar over the past a number of years?” Qadri requested, suggesting that latest reforms may need been “a canopy” for authorities permitting prevailing labor practices to proceed.
The World Cup will begin this November in Qatar.