Backlash As Qatar Allowed To Chair ILO Meet
The UN’s labor rights watchdog, the International Labour Organization (ILO), is being criticized for nominating Qatar’s minister of labor, Ali bin Saeed bin Samikh al-Marri, to preside over its upcoming annual conference in Geneva.
- The UN’s labor rights watchdog, the International Labour Organization (ILO), is being criticized for nominating Qatar’s minister of labor, Ali bin Saeed bin Samikh al-Marri, to preside over its upcoming annual conference in Geneva.1
- The ILO is set to hold its conference from June 5 to 16, and delegates from its 187 Member States are expected to discuss how to “transition towards sustainable and inclusive economies, quality apprenticeships, and labor protection.”2
- The International Trade Union Confederation, a group claiming to represent 200M workers globally, is reportedly concerned about Qatar’s presidency of the conference, given its controversial history of labor rights and its role in an alleged bribery scandal involving European Members of Parliament (MEP).3
- Marri is a primary suspect in the “Qatargate” scandal, as former Italian MEP Antonio Panzeri recently admitted to meeting the former and receiving €1M per year in 2018 and 2019 to lobby favorably on behalf of Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.4
- The ILO is also being questioned for “whitewashing Qatar,” producing “biased” reporting on the Gulf state’s labor reforms, and receiving about $25M towards an ILO program to increase worker protections in the country.1
- More than 6.5K migrant workers from countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar in the years after it won its bid to host the soccer World Cup.5
Sources: 1Guardian, 2ILO, 3News9 Live, 4DW, and 5Transcontinental Times.
- Narrative A, as provided by ITUC. While Qatar may try to convince the world that it has established decent and humane labor laws, it lags in human rights and continues to abuse migrant workers months after the World Cup's end. The ILO must be more vigilant and hold Qatar’s feet to the fire as it pushes the country to implement crucial labor reforms.
- Narrative B, as provided by The Peninsula Qatar. Qatar has introduced significant labor and Kafala reforms, and an overhaul of its labor system has led to undeniable improvements in the overall workplace environment. Not only is the country creating better conditions for its workers, but it’s also using lessons learned in the past to help other countries better their workers’ lives.