Migrant worker abuse is widespread in Qatar – but the 2022 World Cup organisers seem to be taking the issue seriously. Will the new emir do the same?
The Guardian’s findings that labourers in Qatar are falling victim to what it calls modern-day slavery are a depressing confirmation of the country’s dismal treatment of migrant workers. In November 2010, when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, it was clear that a failure to make basic reforms would result in the sort of brutal exploitation revealed in Pete Pattison’s outstanding investigative report.
In June 2012, Human Rights Watch issued a damning report on human rights abuses, including forced labour, in Qatar’s construction sector. Earlier this year, we concluded that the country risks becoming"a crucible of exploitation and misery" for migrant workers after the authorities chose to ignore the detailed recommendations in that report. Other rights groups and trade unions have been similarly critical.
Photo: In Doha’s Nepali embassy, a file documents pay for Nepalese migrants who have died: at least 44 between June and August, 2013. Photograph: Peter Pattison