Head of Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee says charter will protect workers

Head of Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee says charter will protect workers
Published: 18 November 2013 - midnight
By: Michael Fahy

The head of Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee responded to questions about the recent spate of deaths of expat workers in the country by re-iterating its commitment to a workers' charter.

When asked about workers' deaths that had taken place in the country, secretary-general Hassan Al Thawadi said: "For us, any number above zero is unacceptable. We're working towards ensuring that stays that way."

He said the Supreme Committee had provided "very clear standards that all of our contractors have to comply with".

"There's mechanisms provided within these to ensure that they maintain the highest degree of safety and security, providing health and dignity of every person working on any of the projects within 2022."

Qatar has come under fire from international labour organisations following a revelation by a Nepalese diplomatic official that 32 Nepalese workers died in the country in the month of July alone - 21 of these where construction workers suffering cardivascular incidents, falls or other on-site incidents, while the other 11 died in traffic accidents.

Labour organisations have also criticised Qatar's Kafala visa sponsorship system, with the International Trade Union Federation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow stating that under local laws employers have "near total control" over workers, including whether they can change jobs or leave the country.

When asked if its new charter meant Qatar's 2022 Supreme Committee would look to change the system. Al Thawadi said the Supreme Committee's charter "is available to the public and refers to ensuring the safety, security and the dignity of every person working within the 2022 project".

"It's a continuation of the initiatives and the systems of the Qatari Government. That's as far as I can say towards that," he concluded.

Tenders for Qatar's World Cup stadium projects will start to be floated from Q1 next year.

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