Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary-General Hassan al-Thawadi has said Qatar attaches great importance to human rights and workers’ welfare, pointing out that the importance was not only in the context of organising the 2022 World Cup in Qatar for the first time in Middle East, but also in the context of its efforts to achieve sustainable development in Qatar and the wider Arab region.
The SC secretary-general delivered the keynote speech at the Sporting Chance Forum in Geneva. Attended by influential human rights groups and NGOs, as well as sport’s global governing bodies FIFA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), UEFA and the Commonwealth Games Federation, the conference was organised by the Geneva-based Institute of Human Rights and Business (IHRB).
Al-Thawadi said that workers’ welfare was one of the most important issues that drew Qatar’s attention. “The State of Qatar’s position on the comprehensive principles of workers’ rights is enshrined in the Qatari Constitution and national vision,” the SC secretary-general said, adding that the relationship between employer and employee was based on social justice and regulated by law. The Qatar National Vision 2030 also refers to the importance of attracting expatriate workers, protecting their rights and ensuring their safety.
He said the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy has been attaching great importance to workers’ welfare and “this has also been at the forefront of our plan since the beginning”, he said, pointing to the power of the World Cup and its role in advancing progress and making the necessary changes to ensure the security, health, safety and dignity of the people who contribute to Qatar’s development.
To complete the system of evaluation and examination to apply the Workers’ Welfare Standards at the sites of the projects of the tournament, the SC and Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), the global trade union for construction workers, signed a co-operation agreement in 2016 to conduct joint inspection tours. He noted that the co-operation of the SC with the BWI and representatives of workers unions was an important addition to the experience of the SC’s Labour Welfare Department.
He said joint inspection tours focused on health and safety standards associated with workplaces and living conditions, as well as support for training programmes and working with the SC to strengthen the role of workers’ welfare forums, which are an effective platform for workers. The SC secretary-general said Doha regularly receives representatives from Human Rights Watch and other international institutions working alongside Qatari governmental institutions and bodies.
He added: “Nations who resist scrutiny and constructive criticism are an impediment to our region’s progress. In Qatar, we embrace scrutiny, understand the benefit of being under the international spotlight, and we are open to constructive criticism.
“On that note, we welcome the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) decision to close the complaint against Qatar earlier this month. It demonstrates their faith in our government’s resolve to drive forward the reform and progress that we know we must deliver.”
Al-Thawadi said Qatar has already made many achievements to ensure the rights of workers, referring to the wage protection system that has been fully implemented and the sponsorship system has also been replaced by contracts between the worker and the employer.
He said the Supreme Committee will co-operate with the ILO for a comprehensive technical support programme that will help implement any new procedure. Al-Thawadi participated in the Sporting Chance forum along with a delegation from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. The delegation held several meetings on the sidelines of the forum during which a number of agreements and contracts were signed, along with discussing ways to strengthen bilateral relations between these organisations and unions and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in the areas of workers’ welfare and human rights. Khalid Ghanim al-Kubaisi, Chief of Advisory Unit & Special Projects, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, stressed the importance of participating in the Sporting Chance forum, especially that this important event was held annually in Geneva, and attended by a large number of experts and those interested in the field of workers’ welfare and human rights.
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