21 July 2014, James M. Dorsey, Hürriyet Daily News
A long-awaited Qatar Foundation report recommends a radical overhaul of the labor recruitment system in Asian labor exporting countries as well as the Gulf state that expects to host the 2022 World Cup.
The report however stops short of calling for the abolition of Qatar’s widely criticized kafala or sponsorship system.
The 163-page report, published amid controversy about the integrity of the Qatari World Cup bid and demands that Qatar be deprived of its hosting rights because of corruption in the recruitment process as well as the working and living conditions of foreign workers who constitute a majority of the Qatari population, is unlikely to deflect criticism of the Gulf state to Asian supplier countries or reduce pressure on Qatar to abolish the kafala system, which puts workers at the mercy of their employers.
To be fair, Qatar Foundation, which is chaired by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s mother, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, and promotes education, science, and community development, has taken a lead in pushing for reform of the labor system in a bid to counter the criticism and meet international standards.
Qatar has ratified the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention on Forced Labour, the Palermo Protocol against human trafficking, the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, and the Minimum Age Convention but has rejected conventions on the freedom of association and the right to organize, bargain collectively and to equal remuneration.