With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in Qatar on November 20, the Gulf state will be in the global spotlight. Since FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar in 2010, the dire situation of migrant workers in the country has been widely publicized. Migrant and domestic workers continue to face a range of abuses, including wage theft, forced labor and exploitation.
But the treatment of migrant workers is just one of a series of violations that make up the state’s troubling human rights record. Qatari authorities suppress freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association; unfair trials remain worrisome; women continue to face discrimination in law and in practice; and laws continue to discriminate against LGBT people.
Here are six things you need to know.
1 – Freedom of expression and freedom of the press
The Qatari authorities use abusive laws stifle those who are critical of the state, including both the citizens Y migrant workers. Amnesty International has documented cases of Qatari citizens who have been arbitrarily detained after criticizing the government, and sentenced after unfair trials on the basis of coercively obtained confessions. Meanwhile, Malcolm Bidali, a Kenyan security guard, blogger and migrant rights activist, was subjected to enforced disappearance and held in solitary confinement for a month for highlighting the plight of migrant workers.
Qatar has few independent or critical media. The country’s authorities limit press freedom by imposing restrictions on broadcasters, including a ban on filming in certain locations, such as government buildings, hospitals, universities, migrant worker accommodation sites, and private homes.
2 – Freedom of association and assembly
Migrant workers are still prohibited from forming or joining trade unions. Instead, they are allowed to form Joint Committees, an employer-led initiative to allow for worker representation. However, to date, the initiative is not mandatory and covers only 2% of workers, well below the fundamental right to form and join unions.
Both citizens and migrant workers face the repercussions of peaceful assembly. For example, in August 2022, by state authorities after protesting in the streets of Doha after their company repeatedly failed to pay their salaries.
3 – Unfair trials
Fair trials are far from guaranteed in Qatar. Over the past decade, Amnesty International has documented cases of unfair trials where defendants’ claims of torture and ill-treatment were never investigated and sentences were handed down on the basis of “confessions” obtained under duress. Defendants were often interrogated while being held incommunicado without access to a lawyer or translator.
jordanian citizen abdullah ibaisfor example, he is serving a three-year prison sentence after an unfair trial in Qatar, which was based on a “confession” of his that he claims was coerced.
4 – Women’s rights
Women continue to face discrimination in law and practice in Qatar. Under the guardianship system, women require the permission of their male guardian, usually their husband, father, brother, grandfather, or uncle, to get married, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad (if you are under 25 years old). ), and access reproductive health care.
Family law discriminates against women, who face greater difficulties in filing for divorce and more severe economic disadvantages if they do, compared to men. Women also continue to be inadequately protected against domestic and sexual violence.
5 – LGBT Rights
Qatari laws discriminate against LGBT people. Section 296(3) of the Penal Code criminalizes a number of consensual same-sex sexual acts, including potential jail terms for anyone who “induces, induces or tempts a man, by any means, to commit an act of sodomy or debauchery”. . Likewise, article 296(4) defines as a crime anyone who “induces or tempts a man or woman, by any means, to perform acts contrary to morality or illegal”.
In October 2022, human rights organizations documented cases in which security forces arrested LGBT people in public places, based solely on their gender expression, and searched their phones. They also said detained transgender women were required to attend conversion therapy sessions as a requirement for their release.
6 – Labor rights
despite the government continuing efforts to reform In Qatar’s labor system, abuses remain rife across the country. While conditions have improved for some workers, thousands still face problems such as back or unpaid wages, denial of rest days, unsafe working conditions, barriers to changing jobs and limited access to justice, while the death of thousands of workers remain uninvestigated. Although a fund has begun paying significant amounts to workers whose wages have been stolen, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have still not been compensated for the labor abuses they have faced over the past decade.
Forced labor and other forms of abuse continue unabated, particularly in the private security sector and to domestic workers, most of whom are women. Paying exorbitant recruitment fees to secure jobs remains widespread, with amounts ranging from US$1,000 to US$3,000. Many workers take months or even years to pay off debt, which ultimately traps them in cycles of exploitation.