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Saturday, September 25, 2021

‘Most Qataris know there are serious problems with labour rights’

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Most Qataris know there are serious problems with labour rights in the country, they are not cold unfeeling monsters.

Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Qatar, in an Open Democracy op-ed about workers’ rights in Qatar.

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Exasperated with international media coverage of Qatar’s human rights record, most recently by a piece in the Guardian, Stephens offered reporters some advice:

A tip to those journalists out there wanting to cover the Gulf: if you anger the liberals in a Gulf country you missed the mark, badly, and you may as well consider your article no better than fish and chip paper.

People in London might nod approvingly, but if the aim is to effect change in the Gulf then it’s a failure.

He also acknowledged that while the majority locals surveyed in a recent poll wholly supported the kafala system, the sentiment appears to be that change is coming.

He ends by saying despite business interests that hinder the abolishment of kafala, which restricts employees from traveling freely or switching jobs, international pressure is pushing reform forward.

“Let’s be clear, Qatar doesn’t really have a choice and the sooner this issue is tackled the sooner the country can remove this smudge against its name.”

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Tim Ngo

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