Doha, (Transatlantic Today) – Ali bin Samikh al-Marri, Qatar’s Minister of Labor, accused shady organizations and lobby groups of conducting a “media” war against Qatar, particularly in relation to the World Cup and migrant labor. In a press statement, he also claimed that, despite Qatar’s landmark reforms, western news organizations are spreading false figures regarding migrant workers.
Reforms and Legislation
“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 combat forced labor and exploitation,” Ali bin Samikh al-Marri said in a press interview. Add to that the passage of laws allowing workers’ representatives to be elected to joint committees.
Qatar announced historic labor law changes in August 2020, including the elimination of the necessity for a NOC.
Qatar promised labor reforms in 2019, according to The Guardian. Removing kafala, the system that made it unlawful for migrant workers to change employment or leave the nation without their employer’s consent, thereby trapping people who were abused and exploited, was one of the goals. Other improvements included the region’s first base salary for immigrant employees and tougher penalties for businesses that violated the new labor regulations.
The statement was the latest in a slew of labor changes by the country, whose treatment of migrants and record on human rights have been a focus since it was granted the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“We are the first country in the region with an International Labor Organization office, whose mandate will continue beyond 2022,” the minister wrote in a letter to the Financial Times in December 2021. 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 human rights specialist and politician from Qatar. He was the chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) before becoming a minister and was well-known for his role in enacting numerous human rights reforms.