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Rights group urges Qatar to protect hotel workers at World Cup

28 July 2022, MVT 14:28
(FILES) This file photo taken on March 14, 2022 shows a view of a room at the Zulal Wellness Resort the northern Qatari city of Ruwais, 100 km from Doha, which will serve as the base camp for the German national football team during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. - The 32 teams taking part in this year's World Cup will stay in copies of Arabian palaces, wellness resorts and luxury hotels where alcohol is banned, according to a list released by FIFA on July 26, 2022. -- Photo: Mustafa abumunes / AFP
28 July 2022, MVT 14:28

A British-based rights group on Thursday called on hotels in Qatar recruiting thousands of foreign workers during the football World Cup to counter racism, overwork and unpaid wages.

Qatar expects more than one million visitors during the four week sporting event, running from November 21 to December 18, with a vast temporary workforce due to be drafted in to help.

But Equidem, a labour rights campaign organisation, said that workers already in the wealthy Gulf state have been subjected to "serious labour exploitation and human rights violations".

Qatar has repeatedly faced criticism over conditions for migrant workers, including in construction.

It insists it has made major improvements in recent years, including imposing a minimum wage and eliminating much of a controversial system that gave employers huge powers over workers' rights to change jobs and even leave the country.

World football governing body FIFA said this week that with Qatar it had implemented an "unprecedented due diligence process to protect the rights and well-being of workers at a total of 159 hotels, including all of those that will host participating teams."

Equidem said hotel workers including from Bangladesh had told their researchers they earned less than people from Arab states for the same job.

The rights group said security guards including from Kenya claimed they were pressured into working in extreme heat more than other nationalities.

Equidem reported some staff said that they were forced into unpaid overtime "like robots" and many had not received wages and compensation due when laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN's International Labour Organisation has also sought improvements, saying that 20 hotels have set up worker-management committees to settle grievances, but that more are needed.

© Agence France-Presse

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