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find the answers of our journalists to the readers of “l’Obs”

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There is a lot of focus on Qatar on the occasion of the opening of the FIFA World Cup. Are petrodollars, climate damage and modern slavery less significant in the United Arab Emirates?

J.B.

Excellent question, rarely mentioned at the moment. All the NGOs, very critical of Qatar, agree that the emirate is the “least worst” country in its treatment of its immigrant workers. Firstly, because they manage to dialogue with the Qatari authorities since the awarding of the World Cup and obtain concrete results, such as the abolition of part of the kafala system in 2016, this system of sponsorship widely used in all Gulf countries and which literally puts an employee under the supervision of his employer. Since 2020, the Qatari authorities have also carried out reforms in labor law, which include a minimum wage of 1,000 riyals (274 euros), a maximum working week of 60 hours, a rest day, and a compulsory break when the temperature exceeds 40°C. The government has also created specialized labor courts, as well as a compensation fund for non-payment of wages, which since its creation in 2018 has reportedly paid more than $160 million to nearly 40,000 workers. from different sectors.
In fact, few workers file a complaint, but it’s a good start, say Human Rights Watch or Amnesty who, for these reasons, are not calling for a boycott of the World Cup. Qatar is the focus of all criticism because it has become a showcase for the Gulf countries with football. But what is happening in Kuwait, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia is also documented but less visible at the moment. MV

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