“They say we have to pay 4500 riyals to change employer”

A company directly and heavily involved with the World Cup in Qatar, with thousands of employees, is blackmailing its workers.

By Samindra Kunti

The years-long information war about what’s really happening inside Qatar is escalating as the World Cup, the first in the Arab world, draws near. The UN labour organisation ILO, which has been overseeing the “reforms” since 2018 (ILO’s Doha-based operation is fully funded by the Qataris), the international trade union ITUC and FIFA, are among the organisations that have praised Qatar’s so-called reform process. And a string of World leaders have joined that choir, the German chancellor Olaf Scholz being the most recent, saying "Qatar has adopted numerous improvements in workers' rights in recent years, in particular the abolition of the Kafala system and the introduction of a minimum wage. The legal situation of migrant workers has improved as a result.”

But as Wenzel Michalski, director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Germany, said:

«Instead of emphasising the supposed will to reform and the alleged achievements of Qatar, politicians and sports officials should address the human rights violations so that something really changes, not just on paper.”

Just like Human Rights Watch – Amnesty, MigrantRights and other human rights advocates – have documented that human rights abuses are still very much part of everyday life for the approximately two million migrant workers in the desert country.

One of them is David from Ghana. He works for a huge security company in Qatar that is directly involved with several World Cup projects, including stadiu...

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