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Qatar and Migrant Workers

Qatar and Migrant Workers

The article “Qatar World Cup: Stadium Builders Working in Sub-Human Conditions” that appeared in The Telegraph on 6 April 2014 alleges that migrant workers preparing the 2022 World Cup stadiums are living in sub-human conditions. However, this is not true as the construction of stadiums is yet to start. The building process is still in its early stages meaning that there are no workers that could be said to be living in sub-human conditions. In the article, Jim Murphy asserts that migrant workers have been lured into the country, and their passports have been confiscated hence making it difficult for them to return to their home countries. However, the massive reforms are being made to the kafala system that used to promote this practice.

This essay highlights significant points that disagree with the assertions made in the article “Qatar World Cup: Stadium Builders Working in Sub-Human Conditions” by Jim Murphy.

Murphy (2014) affirms that many workers are facing difficulties going back to their countries without permission from their employers. The author tends to base his argument on the kafala system that tends to tie migrant workers to a single employer who has the authority to confiscate their passports hence limiting movements to their countries. Murphy’s argument that many workers have experienced problems because their passports are taken away is not true because Colonel Abdullah Saqr al-Mohannadi, a human rights director, confirmed that the kafala system is being abolished to protect the rights of movement among migrant workers. According to Conway (2014), the confirmation that the kafala system would be effectively replaced by a system that boosts contractual relationships between the migrant employees and their employers is enough to discredit Murphy’s argument that migrant workers have difficulties travelling back to their home countries. It is misleading to affirm that migrant employees are experiencing problems going back to their countries when the Qaar government has put in place measures that would eliminate the kafala system hence empowering migrant workers. In fact, FIFA commended Qatar for the abolishment of the kafala system perceiving it the right step toward the sustainability of human rights for migrant workers that would be working on World Cup facilities to be staged in 2022. The efforts of the government are supposed to be appreciated because they are in the best interest of migrant workers by creating a contractual relationship with their employers.

Additionally, the article fails to recognize the efforts that are being made by other entities, such as the government, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, and human rights entities in Qatar, while apart from the mentioned football authorities. The assertion that ‘stadium builders in sub-human conditions’ is misleading because the construction of stadiums is yet to start in Qatar. Thomas (2014) opines that only one World Cup stadium is currently under construction with other five stadiums waiting to be constructed. Again, many entities in Qatar, such as human rights entities and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, have been working extra-hard to ensure that all migrant workers are treated in a humane manner as they construct the stadiums. The author utilizes the existing facts that are related to the stadiums construction in Qatar and only mentions the roles that football organizers could play without paying attention to other significant entities and the efforts they have been making toward promoting a safe working environment for all migrant workers who would be working on the planned World Cup stadiums. Therefore, the author of the article presents misleading details by affirming that migrant workers in stadiums are living under sub-human conditions. The construction of stadiums is still in its preliminary stages as they have only started working on one of the stadiums.

The migrant worker housing project that is taking place in Qatar is reflective of the country’s commitment to ensuring that all migrant woorkers work in humane conditions. This is in disagreement with the author’s opinion that there is no effect being made toward ensuring that these workers live in a humane manner. The author of the article is subjective in affirming that migrant workers have been forced to live in terrible conditions that have led to the death of some of them. VCUQatar (2012) has been working tirelessly to ensure that migrant workers have better houses that would make their lives easier. It is envisaged that these houses would accommodate various social amenities including health centers, shops, accessible psychologists, and recreational facilities that would be vital in promoting the rights of migrant workers in Qatar. They would be in a better position to live in quality houses once the project is complete. The construction of these houses is a key indicator of the changed situation in Qatar and the commitment of authorities toward providing humane working conditions for migrant workers that would be utilized in the construction of stadiums that would host the FIFA 2022 World Cup.  Booth and Gibson (2014) reiterate that there is hope for the promotion of humane conditions for migrant employees as they would be able to live in better conditions where they have access to all the basic needs in their housing units. This would be ready before the serious stages of construction get underway in the country.

More so, the article fails to recognize that significant reforms are being made toward the equality, dignity, and the wages of migrant workers that would take part in the construction of World Cup stadiums. Haroon (2013) agrees that the Qatar government has taken tremendous steps to ensure that all migrant workers are treated with the highest level of equality irrespective of their nationalities and race. This is indicative of the view that authorities, such as the Qatar Supreme Committee on the 2022 World Cup, are committed to ensuring the safety of all migrant workers. The author also fails to recognize the view that the dignity of all workers has been secured under the 50-page charter proposed by the government.



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