Rights watchdogs wants better living conditions for foreigners

December 27, 2010

A study sponsored by Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee called for amendments to labour laws to improve the living and working conditions of thousands of foreign labourers and argued that some cases amounted to a form of human trafficking.

According to the study, more than 850 Qatar-based companies in the construction sector were suspended in 2009 after they failed to comply with the labour law requirements on working and living conditions.

Labourers engaged in building, excavations and concreting worked in very harsh conditions that included high temperature and high humidity.

“Some of them work without sufficient safety procedures, health care or nutrition,” the study said. “A considerable number of them developed different kinds of diseases.”

The report also said that the human rights team found that more than six workers lived in one room.

“About 45% of construction workers were forced by their sponsors [managers] to do additional tasks that are not stated in the work contract; 34% of them do not receive any wages against these additional tasks. Detained workers who wait for eventual extradition pay fees between QR300 and QR500 for lawyers to represent them in courts.”

The study said this payment was illegal and violated the labour law and stipulated that such cases should be settled urgently and free of any charges, Qatari daily Gulf Times reported yesterday.

With regard to low wages received by the construction workers, the study found that 30% of the total number of workers earned less than QR800.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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