In this report, Amnesty International examines how far Qatar has come to meet its pledges to reform its labour system and protect workers’ rights before the World Cup opens. The report highlights that Qatar has made some important progress to date, including major reforms announced in 2020 to facilitate freedom of movement and introduce a new minimum wage. Yet, it also demonstrates that the weak implementation and enforcement of other reforms introduced in recent years has left thousands of workers at the mercy of unscrupulous employers who have been allowed to commit abuses with impunity. Today, despite improvements to the legal framework, these migrants often still face delayed or unpaid wages, work excessively long hours, and struggle to access justice. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is also placing new stresses on employers and employees alike. For migrant workers this has only exacerbated their acute vulnerabilities, including heavy debts from high recruitment fees, restrictions on movement and obstacles to attaining effective remedies for their abuse. Qatar has a duty to protect and respect human rights, and a major opportunity to prove to the world that it is serious about workers’ rights. To do so, it must ensure full implementation and enforcement of the reforms introduced to date, get serious about holding abusive employers to account, and take action to address major weaknesses in key areas including the payment of wages, access to justice and workers’ voice. Qatar must also give particular attention to the situation faced by the country’s domestic workers, who face severe and widespread abuse away from the spotlight of the World Cup. In delivering a meaningful reform process that upholds workers’ rights for all, they cannot continue to be left behind.
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