Qatar has made progress in its efforts to improve the lives of migrant labourers, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in Doha yesterday.
“From what we have seen there is progress. We are convinced there is genuine will to tackle rights issues,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told reporters in Doha after a two-day visit to the State.
Prince Zeid also condemned the abduction of a number of Qatari nationals in Iraq, saying it represents a violation of human rights.
He was speaking at a press conference yesterday evening at the conclusion of the conference on the role of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the protection and promotion of human rights in the Arab region.
He said he had noticed this progress and the positive developments with regard to the foreign labour rights record during his meetings with several Qatar officials and his visit to the Labour City, adding that all this progress would not have occurred without the political will of the authorities and officials in Qatar.
During his visit, the UN envoy spoke with construction workers while on a tour of the new worker accommodation camp built on the outskirts of Doha by the government to host 100,000 foreign workers.
Replying to a question in this regard, Prince Zeid said: “We found that there is a clear and tangible achievement regarding the foreign workers’ issue, through the application of the legislation, especially the new legislation of Kafala system.”
He said that he met yesterday with HH the Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani, where talks dealt with a number of issues that relate to human rights at the regional and local levels. He also met yesterday with HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, and a number of the State’s officials.
He stressed that the steps taken by the Qatari government about foreign workers employment reflect a real political will to address the issues that relate to employment in the state. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the steps taken by Qatar regarding this file and said that the Commission will co-operate with Qatar in this regard.
Qatar has made progress: A wage protection system requiring companies to pay salaried workers by electronic bank transfer came into force in November.
He also praised the results of the conference in Doha, expressing his deep thanks and appreciation to the leadership in Qatar, led by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for hosting this vital and important event.
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