Actions speak louder than unfounded accusations

 13 Nov 2017 - 12:52

In light of the many accusations circulated by international bodies against the State of Qatar, many of those basing their accusations on contributions from ‘anonymous sources’, we are getting used to hearing the same headlines over and over again. Different media outlets continue to cash on phrases revolving around labor and human rights.

Reality however lays in a different dimension to the one these newspapers and channels live in. The allegations brought forward time and time again have made it difficult to differentiate between facts and fiction. Journalists, organizations and media outlets that were renowned for their professionalism, have lost credibility.

\The questions being asked primarily revolve around treatment of laborers and migrant workers. The international community and international organizations have the right to raise fingers but only when they are basing their claims on facts. But these acts qualify to be condemned if what we keep hearing continues to be based on such weak and unproven allegations.

The steps taken by the State of Qatar and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for ensuring the dignified treatment of laborers and migrant workers in such a short time period have been nothing short of astonishing.

The Wage Protection System that was recently passed ensures there is a strict system in place to monitor the payment transactions to workers by their employers. Effectively, the country has introduced a cashless system in which salaries of these laborers are documented and hence ensures timely payments.

In the state of Qatar, migrant workers have a higher life expectancy than they would in their respective home countries and have free-access to incredible health care facilities.

The philanthropic organizations in Qatar are doing an immense job at home towards migrant workers stemming from our belief that ‘charity begins at home’.

It is common to see nationals and expats standing shoulder to shoulder with these charity organizations to care for the migrant worker population and ensure their well-being. These local charity organizations have a constant monitoring mechanism to check the conditions of these workers and offer humanitarian support and aid.

The critics can see a lot more if they decide to open their eyes, and remove the prejudice and hate that is clouding their vision towards Qatar and the World Cup 2022. They can see the campaigns being run for the welfare of laborers. They can see locals opening their homes to workers on a daily basis for lunches and dinners. Unfortunately, these acts are completely disregarded by a multitude of media outlets and journalists.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has done a tremendous job in enforcing the toughest conditions for their contractors and subcontractors to ensure the well-being of workers, workers living conditions and worker safety. They have raised these standards again and again to the point where construction companies complain about how difficult it is to be compliant.

Recently, a new residency law came into effect that abolished the sponsorship (kafala) system and guaranteed greater flexibility, freedom and protection to Qatar’s more than 2.1 million expatriate work force. Expatriate workers have the freedom to change jobs subject to conditions set by the law.

They say actions speak louder than words and Qatar believes in actions. Yet we still see the same systematic approach by these bodies to target Qatar and its right to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 for the first time in the Middle East.

It makes one wonder if the statements have ulterior motives besides the well-being of these workers. Is it really a matter of human rights they are talking about? If that is the case, then why is the State of Qatar the only country been singled out while more pressing issues around the world go unnoticed?

In other countries, governments are nailing sidewalks to prevent the homeless from sleeping or loitering on them. In other countries we see mass incarceration of certain ethnic groups in the prison system.

These pressing violations go unnoticed while no time is wasted in expressing “concerns” and “alarms” over the potential risk of worker safety in Qatar.

We call upon FIFA to continue to work hand in hand with the State of Qatar to deliver an extraordinary event in the region. We also trust the sponsors of FIFA will exercise good judgement and disregard these baseless accusations. This world cup will provide an unprecedented opportunity to grow their brand loyalty in the region. 2022 will be a year in which a breathtaking event will finally be held in the Middle East. While keeping worker safety and the environment as priorities, a World Cup will be delivered that will leave a lasting legacy. Expect Amazing!

The writer is Executive Manager of Ajyal Group. He can be reached at zaid@ajyaltek.com