Minister of Labour HE Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri affirmed that the slanderous allegations and negative campaign against Qatar began to take a tipping point by adopting hate and racist rhetoric with the aim of offending the Qatari people and their national team, stressing the rejection of hate speech and systematic racism towards Qatar, its people, and its national team.
The minister made it clear that the campaign run by some against Qatar has escalated in pace over the past weeks without real justifications, pointing out that what the World Cup is being exposed to in Qatar amounts to intellectual and media terrorism and gaslighting on racist pretexts.
He participated in the European Parliament hearing on labor reforms in Qatar, which took place in Brussels, upon an invitation by Human Rights Subcommittee and the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Arabian Peninsula. International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Trade Union Confederation, and Human Rights Watch participated in the hearing, in the presence of members of the European Union Subcommittee on Human Rights, a large number of parliamentarians and diplomats.
Marri explained that whoever runs the negative campaign against Qatar has not only lost his real compass, but also lost the logic and rationality of presentation, indicating that it is illogical to say that 6,500 workers died during the period of building and equipping the World Cup facilities, according to what was mentioned in the media, i.e. an average of 2 deaths a day which the mind cannot believe. He noted that the death count and mortality rates are published in the media are increasing every day away from professional ethics and criterion, noting that every day we hear a new number of victims, some of whom said 6,500 and others said 10,000 and others 15,000 as if we are in a public auction to bid in daily.
The minister highlighted the importance of the Qatari dialogue with the European Union and the European Parliament on a permanent basis in many areas, including human rights issues, noting that this dialogue will continue in the coming years. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to HE Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Right in the European Parliament Maria Arena and members of the committee for giving the State of Qatar with the opportunity to present facts and truths about Qatars Labor sector away from slanderous allegations that are not evinced by any facts.
He pointed out that dialogue, consultation and cooperation with the Human Rights Subcommittee and the Relations Mission to the Arabian Peninsula in the European Parliament will continue during the coming period, especially as the cooperation has yielded many joint achievements in the Labor sector. His Excellency revealed that there are consultations between the Ministry of Labor and the European Commission to sign a memorandum of understanding soon with the aim of supporting ways of joint cooperation in the fields of the Labor sector.
His Excellency highlighted that the volume of slanderous allegations that have been spread during the past two months against Qatar's hosting of the World Cup has not been exposed to any country that has hosted the World Cup before, noting that this has raised many questions about the motives behind this hostile campaign and its goals.
He pointed out that Qatar has adopted rapidly over the past years the implementation of a series of labor reforms with the testimony of Labor organizations and specialized labor unions, but some parties are trying to ignore all these facts, noting that in their systematic campaign against Qatar they prefer to re-publish and adopt unfounded statistics and allegations.
His Excellency stressed that the State of Qatar has repeatedly demanded in many international forums that advocate the slanderous claims to provide us with documents on death toll, and the scientific methodology they relied on in determining the amounts of compensation, noting that there are actually no verified documents other than media bubbles issued sporadically.
His Excellency stressed that these statistics lack accuracy, credibility and integrity, in addition to the fact that they were not issued by relevant or official organizations, pointing out that it is not possible to adopt and deal with these statistics or build decisions and judgments on them as they are neither accurate nor objective.
Dr Marri stressed that human rights work is based on international bases, values and standards, the most important of which is respect for specialization and professionalism.
He said, "It is known that in the event of searching for information on environmental protection issues, we must resort to environmental protection organizations, and the same applies when we want to glean data about cases of human rights violations. Human rights protection organizations we recourse to for information, and this is indeed what applies to information and facts. For the Labor sector as well, it is necessary to resort to the International Labor Organization." The Minister explained that what he wants to talk about the Labor sector in the State of Qatar would be more useful to read the periodic reports and positions of organizations and federations specialized in the field of Labor rights, pointing to the International Labor Organization and international trade unions as the main and correct reference for all information about the Labor sector in various countries of the world.
He noted that the international trade unions and organizations have put forward many constructive feedbacks of the Labor sector in the country, noting that most of them have taken the path of labor sector reforms, which requires everyone to listen to these organizations and labor unions about the conditions of workers in Qatar, as they were side by side with us during the course of Labor reforms.
The minister lauded the permanent and fruitful cooperation and coordination between the State of Qatar and ILO and the International Trade Union Confederation, and also praised the dialogue and cooperation with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the past years. His Excellency pointed out that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are fully aware that the State of Qatar is one of the few countries that deals with them in full transparency and by adopting an open door policy.
He expressed his surprise at raising the issue of establishing an international compensation fund, wondering about the foundations, standards and scientific methodology on which the advocates of that idea relied, and on what basis the amounts were determined.
He pointed out that the Workers' Support Fund has existed in the State of Qatar for years and has been operating within clear foundations, and it is one of the first funds in the region and the world, as there are only 7 funds worldwide in Qatar, Singapore, Germany, Austria, South Korea, France and Hong Kong. He explained that there is an approved mechanism to compensate workers for accidents that occur during their work period in the State of Qatar.
The minister indicated that the projects implemented in partnership between the Ministry of Labor and ILO will remain sustainable during the coming period, noting that Qatar will remain as it used to adopt the policy of open doors to all international organizations.
He pointed out that some politicians and some media outlets in Western countries have lost the moral and professional motive in their attack against Qatar and have been drawn into their hateful racist ideas at the expense of the interests of their countries.
Dr Marri pointed out that the false slander campaign transgressed all limits in its attempt to discredit Qatar, the latest of which was the claim that the World Cup organizers used fake fans who receive money to attend the matches.
He explained that all those who criticize Qatar know very well the span of the reforms implemented during the past decade, but they ignore them because they do not serve their misleading narratives against Qatar and the development witnessed by the work environment, indicating that the negative campaigns against Labor reforms will not deter us from organizing a historic World Cup in the State of Qatar.
He stressed that Doha welcomes all fans without discrimination, as they will find in Qatar nothing but welcome, friendliness and mutual respect, pointing out that the World Cup will be one of the most beautiful and wonderful World Cup that draws joy and peace and corrects misconceptions on our Arab and Islamic region.
In conclusion, the minister stated that the policy of intimidation, and distortion practiced by some will not deter us from continuing the process of Labor reforms that we started in based on our Islamic and Arab values and not motivated by the organization of the World Cup, especially since it started before that and will continue until after the World Cup.
For her part, Marina Arena, Chairperson of the Sub-Committee of the European Parliament for Human Rights, confirmed that there are many human rights organizations that have talked about labor conditions in the State of Qatar, particularly those working in projects relevant to constructing World Cup facilities, pointing out that ILO welcomed the progress made in labor legislation in the State of Qatar although there are still some challenges.
She explained that the State of Qatar has implemented tangible initiatives in the labor sector that were welcomed by international organizations, especially the abolition of kafala system and giving workers complete freedom to change their employers.
Arena stressed that the dialogue between the State of Qatar and international organizations is an important way to be informed of the reality of the conditions of workers in Qatar, in addition to that it will provide an opportunity to continue implementing labor reforms and the distinguished efforts that have been made in the field of preserving workers' rights after World Cup.
She thanked His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri, Minister of Labor, for answering the call to clarify the facts regarding the conditions of workers in a country, especially in the World Cup projects.
Parliament's Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP) Hannah Neumann, explained that the State of Qatar has worked to pass many new laws and legislations related to migrant workers, including the Minimum Wage Law and the Workers' Support Fund, noting that progress in the field of preserving human rights Workers and updating legislation and laws is a source of pleasure.
She noted that HE Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri assuming the Ministry of Labor in Qatar after his position as Chairman of the Human Rights Committee reflects a real transformation to move towards the best with regard to human and workers' rights, noting the need for continued cooperation to implement these new legislations during the next stage, especially since there are many reports that labor conditions in Qatar are getting better.
Max Tunon the head of the ILO Office in Doha, confirmed that the State of Qatar has approved during the past ten years a series of legislation, laws and regulations to improve the work environment, pointing out that during the previous two years and within the abandonment of kafala system, more than 350 thousand workers have changed their employers.
Tunon praised the decision to prevent work during the noon hours, aka heat stress decision in the summer because of its positive impact in mitigating the effects of heat stress, noting that after implementing the decision, it was found that the cases exposed to heat stress during the summer has witnessed a steep decline by 77% compared to the previous figures.
He explained that the State of Qatar adopted in 2013 legislation allowing migrant workers to join the joint labor committees, pointing out that international trade union organizations and federations have carried out a string of meetings with Qatar over the past years with the aim of improving the labor market environment.
He explained that the labor reforms that were adopted during the past years in the State of Qatar are great, which necessitates giving more time to implement them optimally, indicating that 86% of the workers confirmed that the labor reforms had a positive impact on their lives, according to a survey.
Assistant Secretary General at African Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation Joel Odigie confirmed that everyone sees good updates at the level of the labor sector, such as the abolition of kafala system and the adoption of the minimum wage law, in addition to reforming laws related to occupational safety and health.
He explained that the international labor federations have made many visits to the State of Qatar to see the labor reforms, pointing out that during those visits the workers were listening and learning about the positive impact of those laws on their lives.
He noted that it is important to confirm those labor reforms that were realized during the past years, indicating that some are pushing towards putting the reforms in jeopardy through unjustified criticism.
He explained that all the criticisms against the State of Qatar may be felt by some groups who dont want to push for improving the conditions of workers, but rather out of revenge, indicating that these criticisms may be based on systematic racist motives against those reforms with the aim of undermining them and turning back.He confirmed his hearing about the existence of many figures about the workers' casualties in building and equipping the World Cup facilities, noting that during his visit to the State of Qatar and examining the facts regarding the workers, it was found that there was neither proportion nor relevance between those numbers and the reality in Qatar.