Qatari Minister of Labor Ali bin Samikh al-Marri accused shadowy campaigns and lobby groups of waging “media” war against Qatar particularly the world cup in context of migrant workers. He added in a press statement that despite Qatar milestone reforms; western media outlets are circulating fake statistics about migrant workers.
The minister Ali bin Samikh al-Marri, said in press statements earlier on Monday to Al Sharq Newspaper, “it has become evident that there are some “targeted negative campaigns” to tarnish the image and reputation of the State of Qatar despite the immense human rights reforms it has carried in the past few years.
Legislation and Reforms
He said in a press interview “the State of Qatar was keen to adopt legislation which abolished the (Kafala) sponsorship system and allowed the transfer from one employer to another, the cancellation of exit permits, and certificates of non-objection when changing the employer, as well as adopting many legislations to combating forced labor and exploitation. Add to this, enacting a legislation on the election of representatives of workers in the joint committees.
“In fact, Qatar has been proactive in modernizing legislation and laws on employment, regulating the labour market and developing mechanisms to implement them to ensure the preservation of the rights of employers and workers alike, which has made Qatar achieve qualitative achievements in this field.” Added Al Marri
In August 2020, Qatar announced landmark changes to the labour law, including scrapping the need for an NOC.
“Qatar has undergone a number of reforms in the labor sector since the abolition of the sponsorship system in 2015, and until this year, which saw the decision to raise the minimum wage, establish a specialized committee to protect the minimum wage, in accordance with the recommendations of the comprehensive independent assessment, establish a fund to support and secure workers, and adopt a policy of inspection of workplaces and occupational safety and health systems in accordance with international standards,” he said.
Radical Reforms, Rare in the Gulf
The Guardian said earlier that Qatar announced sweeping labour reforms in 2019. This included ending kafala, the system that made it illegal for migrant workers to change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission, effectively trapping workers who were being exploited and abused. Other reforms included the first minimum wage for migrant workers in the region and harsher penalties for companies that did not comply with the new labour laws.
The announcement was the latest in a series of labour reforms by the country whose treatment of migrant workers and human rights record have been under the spotlight since it was awarded the hosting of football’s 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In a letter published by the Financial Times in December 2021, the minister said, “We are the first country in the region with an International Labour Organization office, whose mandate will continue beyond 2022. Working with the ILO, we introduced laws in line with international best practice. The next step has been to ensure that changes are fully implemented by shifting the deeply ingrained cultural attitudes of employers.”
Ali bin Samikh Al Marri is a Qatari politician and human rights experts. Prior his ministerial role, he was the chairman of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and was known of his role in enacting many human rights reforms.