Responding to news that the Qatari government has announced it will introduce legislation to reform its abusive ‘kafala’ sponsorship scheme, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, Stephen Cockburn said:
“We have long called for the end of the abusive Kafala system in Qatar, and it would be a major step forward if these measures finally allow workers to return home or change jobs without restriction. We will be closely scrutinizing the details of this announcement and pushing for any positive measures to be quickly and fully implemented.
We have long called for the end of the abusive Kafala system in Qatar, and it would be a major step forward if these measures finally allow workers to return home or change jobs without restrictionStephen Cockburn
“The devil will be in the detail. Far too often workers have continued to face exploitation and abuse despite reforms intended to protect them. We hope this time will be different, and that Qatar can truly transform its labour laws to fully respect the rights of its migrant workers. This must also mean more rigorously enforcing its labour laws and holding abusive employers to account.”
Qatar hosts about two million migrant workers, but has consistently failed to protect their rights under international law.
Last month, Amnesty International published a report revealing the plight of hundreds of migrant workers who are still waiting in vain for unpaid wages and compensation, despite the Qatari authorities establishing committees which are meant to rapidly resolve labour disputes as part of reforms ahead of the 2022 World Cup.