On Monday 14 November, the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) held a hearing with Qatari Labour Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri regarding the working conditions of migrant workers in Qatar prior to the kick-off of the FIFA World Cup.
MEPs criticised the treatment of foreign workers as well as the country’s policies towards women and the LGBT+ community.
In response, Bin Samikh Al Marri stated that many improvements had been made over the past years. His former position as chairman of the national human rights committee was a testament to the direction the government was taking, he argued. His statements were supported by Max Tuñón, head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in Doha.
Minky Worden (Human Rights Watch) argued that the reforms remained unsatisfactory, emphasising insufficient protections for migrant workers.
MEPs highlighted the need for efficient data collection and better transparency, notably asking the Labour Minister to let the EU investigate the situation. MEPs also called for the European Parliament to be more involved in the data collection and analysis process so as to ensure that the new measures mentioned by Bin Samikh Al Marri are being implemented.