A new report by Amnesty International reveals how migrant domestic workers employed in Qatar have been pushed to breaking point by extreme overwork, lack of rest, and abusive and degrading treatment. The organization spoke to 105 women who had been employed as live-in domestic workers in Qatar, and found that their rights were still being abused and violated despite government reforms aimed at improving their working conditions. Some women said they had been victims of serious crimes such as sexual assault.
In 2017 Qatar introduced the Domestic Workers Law, which stipulated limits on working hours, mandatory daily breaks, a weekly day off and paid holidays. Three years on, 90 of the 105 women contacted by Amnesty said they regularly worked more than 14 hours per day; 89 regularly worked seven days a week; and 87 had their passport confiscated by their employers. Half of the women worked more than 18 hours per day, and most had never had a single day off at all. Some also reported not being paid properly, while 40 women described being insulted, slapped or spat at. One woman said she was treated “like a dog”.
“The introduction of the 2017 Domestic Workers Law was a step forward for labour rights protection in Qatar. Sadly, the accounts of the women we spoke to make it clear that these reforms have not been properly implemented or enforced,” said Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International.
“Domestic workers told us they were working an average of 16 hours a day, every day of the week, far more than the law allows. Almost all had their passport confiscated by their employers, and others described not getting their salaries and being subjected to vicious insults and assaults. The overall picture is of a system which continues to allow employers to treat domestic workers not as human beings but as possessions.”
Read more here.