Qatar affirms commitment to protect migrant labourers

Qatar affirms commitment to protect migrant labourers
2 min read
28 September, 2017
Qatari authorities have said they are committed to protecting the safety of construction workers, after a rights group criticised Doha's labour regulations.

Qatar is undergoing a massive labour-intensive capital investment programme [Getty]

Qatari authorities have said they are committed to protecting the safety of construction workers, after a rights group criticised Doha's labour regulations.

The Qatari government's communications office said on Wednesday in a statement carried by the state-run QNA news agency that Doha was working to ensure that migrant workers received adequate on-site protection.

"We continue to coordinate closely with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and international NGOs to implement reforms that will improve the health, safety and rights of migrant workers," Sheikh Saif Al Thani, head of the Communications Office, said.

Human Rights Watch released a report on Wednesday urging Qatar to do more to protect construction workers from extreme heat, which often reaches levels that are potentially fatal.

HRW and other rights campaigners are frequent critics of the treatment of migrant labourers by contractors in Qatar, where working conditions have received additional scrutiny as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

The group said existing regulations only set limits on outdoor work during the period 15 June to 31 August, and then only from 11:30 am to 3 pm.

HRW said that lethal levels of heat often occur outside those hours.

Qatar's supreme committee for delivery and legacy said on Wednesday that it was commitment to protecting the welfare of workers building World Cup stadiums.

Qatar relies on vast numbers of migrant workers, mostly from the Philippines, South Asia and Africa.

About 2 million migrant workers live in Qatar, outnumbering the local workforce almost 20 to one. About 800,000 operate in the construction sector.

In August, Qatar approved a law limiting domestic staff to a maximum of ten hours work a day, the first such protection for thousands of household workers in the emirate.