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Report: Qatar Detains Workers Protesting Late Pay

    Report: Qatar Detains Workers Protesting Late Pay
    Last updated: 3 months ago
    Image credit: AP [via Independent]

    Facts

    • Qatar reportedly recently arrested at least 60 foreign workers protesting outside the offices of Al Bandary International Group, a conglomerate including construction, hotels, real estate, and food services, among other enterprises. [1]
    • According to the human and labor rights organization Equidem, police allegedly held the protesters in a detention center without air conditioning, despite temperatures this week reaching 41°C (105.8°F). [2]
    • With some workers not receiving compensation for as long as seven months, the news adds to the already intense scrutiny over labor practices in the Arab Gulf nation set to host the FIFA World Cup in a few months. [3]
    • The Qatari govt. acknowledged that the protesters were arrested for "breaching public safety laws," adding that the company was already under investigation and that the Labor Ministry would pay "all delayed salaries and benefits." [1]
    • Qatar, like other Arab Gulf nations, relies heavily on foreign labor and has a history of deporting labor protesters, with the most recent detainees coming from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nepal, and the Philippines. [4]
    • Since being selected to host the 2022 World Cup back in 2010, Qatar has worked to improve workers' rights, including ending a system where employers controlled whether employees could leave their job or even the country. They also implemented a monthly minimum wage of $275. [2]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    Qatar has made some progress since its World Cup selection, but the oil-rich nation is still failing to provide its migrant workers with timely compensation and safe working conditions. Though it's too late to strip the country of its host status, the international community must use the upcoming tournament as an opportunity to call for labor reform.

    Narrative B

    Ever since the international World Cup organization chose Qatar as its 2022 host country, outside actors have singled the country out for criticism. The Arab Gulf nation has made immense progress in reforming its labor practices, and any reports of dangerous work conditions and deaths are baseless and have been deliberately overblown.

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