Qatar to improve data collection on worker deaths after Amnesty report – Doha News

The Gulf state says it is responding to calls from advocacy groups to improve the way work-related deaths are documented in the country.

Qatar’s ministries of labor and health on Wednesday signed an agreement to cooperate on data collection to better address work-related injuries and deaths and help improve safety on construction sites.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Minister of Labor, Dr Ali bin Saeed bin Smaikh Al Marri, who is also the former Chairman of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee and the Minister of Public Health, Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari.

The UN International Labor Organization [ILO] The Qatar office hailed the agreement, calling it “a positive and important development”.

The deal is a swift response to both a recent Amnesty International report titled “Reality Check” and the recent ILO report, both of which revealed gaps in data collection on injuries and deaths. expatriate workers.

Entitled “One is too much ”, the ILO study detailed work-related injuries and fatalities recorded in 2020 based on data collected from key institutions based in Qatar.

He revealed that around 50 workers have died in Qatar and more than 500 have been seriously injured, while 37,600 have suffered minor to moderate injuries. The ILO also called for more precise data collection and surveys.

“We must act urgently, because behind every statistic there is a worker and his family,” the ILO said on Friday.

Qatar’s Ministry of Labor has welcomed the ILO report and the confirmed recommendations are under consideration.

The Gulf state has been under international scrutiny since winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010, with the majority of criticism coming from Western media with what Doha has often described as sensationalist bias and titles.

Qatar has made “great strides” on human rights, but there is still work to be done

One of these reports was published by The Guardian in February this year headlined: “Revealed: 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar as it prepares for the World Cup,” in which he linked the “shocking” death rate to the start of the FIFA World Cup journey. world ten years ago.

However, the report did not clarify the reasons for these deaths and was also dismissed by Qatar as “unfounded”.

More recently, The Guardian published another article titled “We have fallen into a trap”: Qatar’s dream of the World Cup is a nightmare for hotel staff “, in which he reported on multiple allegations of violations of Qatari labor law in the hospitality industry.

The charges included low wages, long working hours and a certain lingering nature of the Kafala system, which was dismantled by the state last year.

In response, Qatar’s press secretary to the United Kingdom, Fahad Al-Mana, wrote a letter to the Guardian stating that the report does not mention the country’s progress in improving the living and working conditions of foreign workers.

“Qatar has never shied away from acknowledging that its system of work is still a work in progress, but we expect the reports to present the facts as they are,” he said.

At the same time, prominent figures and the international community hailed Qatar’s major steps in labor reform, which were achieved after the authorities began to work closely with the ILO.

Qatar is also the only country in the region to host an ILO office, a move which is seen as proof of Doha’s commitment to address concerns raised about rights violations.

England Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said on Wednesday that Qatar had made “strong progress” on human rights issues while noting that there was still work to be done.

“The first point we always make is that we are not perfect ourselves as a country and I think we have to establish that from the start when we talk about any other country,” Bullingham said., adding that the visit helped the group understand the change in legislation in recent years.

Among the main reforms undertaken by Qatar was the introduction of the region’s first non-discriminatory minimum wage, under which employers must pay allowances of at least QAR 300 for food and QAR 500 for housing in addition to the minimum monthly base salary of QAR 1,000. .

Employers who pay their staff less than the minimum wage face one year in prison and a fine of QAR 10,000.

Qatar has also significantly strengthened surveillance at all levels to detect violations, enacting faster sanctions and further strengthening the capacity of labor inspectors.

So far, dozens of companies have been sued by authorities for breaking the new laws.

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