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Five things you should know about Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts

November 29, 2022 World Sports

The 2022 World Cup hosts, things you should know about Qatar

The 2022 FIFA World Cup started in Qatar on November 20, putting the Gulf nation in the public eye. The dire circumstances facing migrant workers in Qatar have received extensive media coverage ever since FIFA. It was decided to award the tournament to Qatar in 2010.

Theft of wages, forced labor, and exploitation are just a few of the abuses that migrant and domestic workers continue to experience.

But the state’s alarming record in terms of human rights abuses includes more than just how migrant workers are treated. The government of Qatar represses freedoms of speech, the press, and association; unfair trials continue to be an issue; women continue to face discrimination in law and practice; and laws that discriminate against LGBT people still exist. Let’s take a look at the following five things:

 

Freedom of expression and press freedom

The Qatari government uses oppressive laws to silence critics of the country, including both locals and foreign workers. Amnesty International has documented cases of Qatari nationals who were detained after criticizing the government and sentenced after unfair trials using coerced confessions. Malcolm Bidali, a Kenyan security guard, blogger, and advocate for migrant workers’ rights, was taken away against his will and imprisoned in solitary confinement for a month.

There is not much independent or critical media in Qatar. The government of the nation imposes restrictions on broadcasters, including the prohibition of filming in specific locations like government buildings, hospitals, universities, migrant workers’ housing facilities, and private residences.

 

Freedom of association and assembly

Migrant workers are still not permitted to form or join unions. Instead, they are allowed to create joint committees as part of a move by employers to support worker representation. The initiative currently only covers 2% of workers and is not required, falling far short of the fundamental right to establish and join a union.

For peaceful assembly, both citizens and migrant workers are subject to consequences. For instance, hundreds of migrant workers protested on the streets of Doha in August 2022 after their employer repeatedly failed to pay their wages. State authorities responded by arresting and deporting the protestors.

 

Women’s rights

In both law and practice, discrimination against women still exists in Qatar. Under the guardianship system, women need the consent of their male guardian—typically their husband, father, brother, grandfather, or uncle—in order to marry, enroll in government-sponsored programs abroad, accept many government jobs, work in foreign countries (if they are under 25), and obtain contraceptive services.

Family law discriminates against women because they have more trouble getting a divorce than men do, and they also suffer more serious economic repercussions if they do. Additionally, women are still not adequately protected from domestic and sexual abuse.

 

LGBT rights

LGBT people face discrimination under Qatari law. A number of same-sex consensual sexual acts are prohibited by Articles of the Penal Code, including those that “lead, induce, or tempt a male, by any means, into committing an act of sodomy; indulge or tempt a male or female, by any means, into committing acts contrary to morals or that are unlawful.”

Human rights organizations documented instances in October 2022 in which security forces detained LGBT people in public settings and searched their phones solely based on their gender expression. They added that attendance at conversion therapy sessions was a requirement for the release of detained transgender women.

 

Labour rights

Abuse of the labor system continues to be widespread in Qatar despite ongoing efforts by the government to reform it. While some workers’ working conditions have improved, thousands continue to experience problems like delayed or unpaid wages, denied rest days, unsafe working conditions, obstacles to changing jobs, limited access to justice, and the deaths of thousands of workers go unreported. Despite the fact that a fund has begun to pay out sizeable sums to workers whose wages have been stolen, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have still not received compensation for labor violations they have endured over the past ten years.

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