ILO keeps up pressure on Qatar on migrant workers’ travel rights

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March 23 – The International Labour Organisation, one of the United Nations’ most highly regarded agencies, has decided to continue monitoring Qatar for human rights violations until November despite the Gulf state, organisers of the 2022 World Cup, insisting progress is being made.

A number of governments, including the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, urged complaints against Qatar to be dropped at the latest ILO governing Council meeting but this was rejected.

Instead the ILO requested Qatar to provide more information “relating to the entry, exit and residence of migrant workers” and specifically about ending the antiquated kafala system that ties thousands of such workers to employers.

James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme, hailed the ILO’s decision. He said it would keep the pressure on Qatar as “half-hearted reforms” are not enough.

“Between now and November, Qatar needs to tackle the fundamentals. It should start by genuinely abolishing the exit permit system so that employers have no right to interfere in a migrant worker’s ability to leave the country,” he said.

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