Qatar still exploiting migrant workers amid financial difficulties

Amnesty International says Qatar remains playground for unscrupulous employers who have failed to pay their workers for months.


Many migrant workers return home penniless


They spend months chasing their wages


They get too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them


The firms all cite financial difficulties for non-payment of wages

PARIS - Qatar is not fulfilling all its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International said Thursday.

In a report entitled "All Work, No Pay", the rights group said: "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers."

The report comes ahead of a meeting in Paris on Thursday between President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Al-Thani also attended Wednesday's high-profile football match between Paris Saint-Germain - owned by Qatar's state-owned investment fund - and Real Madrid.

The Amnesty report documents the plight of hundreds of workers at three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who went unpaid for months.

"Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life; instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty's deputy director of global issues.

After coming under fire over the treatment of migrant workers, Qatar agreed with the International Labour Organization in 2017 to undertake labour reforms, including establishing new dispute resolution committees.

Amnesty said that while some of the workers at the three firms - Hamton International, Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad (HKH) and United Cleaning - who filed complaints with the new committees received part of their earnings in exchange for dropping their cases, "most went home with nothing".

"We are urging the Qatari authorities to fully deliver what has been promised and end the shameful reality of labour exploitation," Cockburn said.

Amnesty cited the case of a Kenyan employee of United Cleaning who said he had to rummage for food in garbage bins after receiving no salary for five months.

The man said he had worked for two years and five months for the company without taking any holidays and was owed "a lot of money".

The companies all cited financial difficulties for the non-payment of wages, according to the report.