World Economy

Boycott Hurting Qatar Economy, Workers

Boycott Hurting Qatar Economy, WorkersBoycott Hurting Qatar Economy, Workers

For all the brave front that Qatar is putting up in wake of the boycott by some Persian Gulf Arab states over Doha’s alleged role in assisting terror groups in the region, the reports from those directly affected in business sectors tells a different story.

“The current (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council diplomatic crisis has drowned out conversations on migrant rights in the region, but the two are actually linked,” David Segall, who researches labor in the Persian Gulf Arab states at New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told the Washington Post, Alarabiya reported.

 “More and more workers are stranded in the Persian Gulf Arab states because their employers have been deported or have suspended business operations. This is a predictable pitfall of a system that gives employers inordinate sponsorship powers over workers, and is a reminder of the need for reform.”

Qatar has supposedly abolished ‘kafala’ worker sponsorship system, but experts say the modified version still grants employers undue control over employees’ right to enter and exit the country.

“Companies still have the power to block workers from leaving the country, which is an outright human rights violation, and which drives forced labor,” James Lynch, the deputy director of human rights group Amnesty International, said to the Carnegie Endowment think tank in April.

The current business situation has exacerbated fears of wage delays and employment losses.

After Saudi Arabia closed Qatar’s only land border, workers braced for a shock to the country’s construction sector. Any shortages following the lack of construction supplies and materials can badly impact the industry and in turn lead to suspension of payments.

“More than 300,000 people and workers have already left Doha, and this process is ongoing. Due to this blockade, most companies are facing material shortages and construction sites are gradually being closed,” said Asrar, a foreign businessman who asked to be identified only by his first name, involved in Doha’s construction industry.


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