Qatar, FIFA urged to protect workers from desert heat

From this, HRW is claiming the conditions could endanger millions of other workers from other states around the Gulf, insisting the breaks allocated do not protect the workers.

“Limiting work hours to safe temperatures – not set by a clock or calendar – is well within the capacity of the Qatari government and will help protect hundreds of thousands of workers”.

“Qatar was the first country in the Gulf to implement restrictions on summer working hours, exceeding those of neighbouring countries”, he explained in a statement released by the official Qatar News Agency (QNA).

“In addition to issuing harsh financial penalties”, he continued.

Following the planned meeting, the ILO may launch a formal investigation into treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

The 2022 World Cup has been switched from June-July to November-December by Federation Internationale de Football Association because of concerns about the heat.

In 2013, the Qatari government revealed that 520 workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal died in 2012 – 385 of them from unexplained causes. Indeed, HRW has recognised the efforts made to protect workers on the sites during hotter times of the year.

Migrant workers expert Nicholas McGeehan said the case demonstrated there remained real problems in Qatar s treatment of labourers.

Qatar is committed to its labour reform programme and is constantly reviewing its policies to ensure that expatriate workers receive the necessary on-site protections, the Government Communications Office director HE Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al-Thani said yesterday.

Temperatures in Qatar are now in the high 30s Celsius and humidity levels are above 50 per cent.

“If Qatar’s World Cup organisers can mandate a climate-based work ban, then the Qatar government can follow its lead”, added Whitson.

The report did praise Qatar’s World Cup organisers for the measures they have taken so far, particularly the heat-based work ban, and called on the county’s neighbours – Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – to take note.

HRW said such terms made it “impossible to determine” whether those deaths were related to working conditions, such as heat stress.

Human Rights Watch said medical research suggests heat stress is a genuine risk to those working outside, and it has called for greater flexibility by Qatari authorities.

The committee added there had been 11 deaths on World Cup projects – “two work-related fatalities and nine non-work related deaths of workers”. The SC profoundly regrets the death of any worker, and we treat every incident with the utmost seriousness.

It said it does not “have the authority or mandate to determine cause of death”. The SC investigates all fatalities on SC sites to establish whether they could have been prevented and, if so, to identify improvements for the future. However it remains of the view that the Humidex system, which is internationally recognized, is an accurate and effective method of monitoring work conditions on site.

It said the government should follow the example of Qatar’s World Cup organisers, who have introduced compulsory work-to-rest ratios introduced for the 12,000 helping build venues for 2022.

The Supreme Committee has said that work was suspended outside of the officially restricted midday work hours for 150 additional hours in 2016 and 255 additional hours between January 1 and early September 2017.

Since controversially winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup in December 2010, the country has embarked on a massive infrastructure upgrade, including eight new or improved stadiums.

“The ILO has been following closely this case and continues to do so with a view to ensuring that the rights of this Nepalese worker are fully respected and protected”, Corinne Vargha, the director of the ILO’s global labour standards department, said in a statement.

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