Free «Labor Workers in Qatar» Essay
Since 2012, when Qatar was elected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, an estimated 900 Nepalese and Indian workers have died during the construction of stadiums, a subway system, an airport, and other necessary infrastructures in the country. However, these figures likely understate the exact number of causalities in Qatar due to insufficient sources of investigation about labor abuse and human rights violation in the country (Hancock, 2014). Maximization of revenues, capitalism, weak labor laws, and ignorance of illiterate workers from poor countries cause the high rates of labor abuse and unfair treatment towards the labor workers in Qatar.
According to The Guardian’s investigation, labor practices in Qatar are significantly troubling when compared to the fatality rates during the preparation for similar events in other parts of the world. During the construction for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, about 25 causalities were recorded, while during 11 years of preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, merely 6 deaths were recorded (Hancock, 2014). Recently, UN’s Human Rights Council panel examined Qatar’s human rights and labor abuse statistics since 2010. Reports of Human Rights Watch claimed that about 94% of the workers are non-Qatari, originating from developing countries like India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Nepal. Most of the workers are subjected to ill-treatment and abuse, including unpaid wages, heavy debts from unreasonably high recruitment fees, contract scams, excessive working hours, forces confinement, and isolation resulting in psychological and physical abuse (Yazd, 2014).
According to the research, multinational companies who are in contract for the construction projects in Qatar are responsible for the most of the cases of labor abuse (Yazd, 2014). According to the Qatari laws, the contract for the construction projects is given to the lowest bidder. Consequently, in order to maximize the revenues, the construction companies try to cut expenses on labor wages, labor protection, and other essential facilities.
Besides multinational corporations and businesses, the Qatari government is also equally responsible for the exploitation of migrant workers in the country. The Qatari labor laws are highly biased, favoring only local businesses and employers. According to the Kafala law, employers are directly responsible for their employees; without the permission of employer, employees cannot leave the country nor find other job. There are no labor-rights protection laws or any organization who monitors the cases of labor abuses in the country (Stephens, 2013). Consequently, it allows the corporate companies and business firms to hire the cheap labor from developing and poor countries by means of unethical hiring practices. Most of the migrant workers come from poor family background and are lured by local contractors and recruiting agencies promising high wages and great facilities (Dennie, 2011). However, after arriving in Qatar, their contracts are changed forcing them to work under rigorous conditions with low salaries which are often not paid on time (Burrow, 2013). The human rights violation and labor abuse are highly present in Qatar because of the purposeful ignorance of the government towards the labors’ rights. Absolute freedom or simply unnoticeable labor rights in the country attract foreign investment and multinational companies in the country; also, cheap labor and the lack of complexity of labor laws are significantly contributing to high revenues of local businesses and firms (Stephens, 2013).
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In a way, the lack of effective labor laws and policies against unethical hiring practices cause the high rate of labor abuse and human rights violation in Qatar. In order to protect the rights of labor workers in the country, it is necessary for the international human rights and labor organization to come forward and voice against the immoral acts of labor abuse in Qatar. Also, it is necessary to put pressure on the Qatari government on an international level to protect the labors’ rights and take necessary steps against labor abuse practices in the country.