“Considering the number of cases coming out in the open, the Ministry (of Labor), to say the least, has failed to perform. It’s time someone responsible from the ministry gave a true picture of the situation, own up the failures and also tell the world what steps are being taken to solve the problems.”
–Dr. Ahmed Al Mohannadi, Editor-in-Chief of local sports magazine Doha Stadium Plus, in an op-ed calling on the government to acknowledge responsibility for rampant labor abuses, and tackle the problem head-on.
Al Mohannadi, a Qatari who has previously spoken out about the kafala system, also said recent criticism of his country is “a necessary evil.” The extra attention will hopefully spur change and increase work standards not just on projects relating to the 2022 World Cup, but throughout Qatar, he added.
Not all locals agree. Earlier this week, Qatar’s Attorney General Dr. Ali bin Fetais Al Marri asserted, as quoted by state news agency QNA, that “there is total justice in Qatar” and that negative media reports about the country could be motivated by sour grapes.
His comments were in reference to a Guardian report from September that revealed widespread mistreatment of low-income workers in Doha who had come from Nepal.
However, Al Marri added that if government investigations into the allegations of abuse prove true, Qatar would work to address the problems.
Also on Monday, Amnesty International released an in-depth report detailing a number of human rights abuses suffered by Qatar’s large construction workforce. The government said it would also probe these claims.