• Qatar’s migrant workers, who comprise 80 percent of the population, remain acutely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The prohibition on trade unions, the kafala system of sponsorship-based employment, illegally imposed recruitment fees, and the routine confiscation of passports enables employers to exercise inordinate control over migrant workers. Many migrant workers live in crowded, unsanitary housing, and work under conditions of forced labor. Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 Football World Cup has resulted in a booming construction sector that is expected to create a demand for a further one million foreign workers. The country should reform its regulatory and legal framework to protect them.



  • May 22, 2015
    EU High Representative Federica Mogherini should publicly urge Gulf countries to release immediately and unconditionally activists detained for exercising their rights.
  • May 12, 2015
  • May 12, 2015
    President Obama should urge the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to show greater respect for human rights when he meets them on May 13 and 14, 2015, to discuss partnership and security, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • May 5, 2015
    I write in anticipation of your meeting with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on May 13 and 14, 2015 to urge that you press them to show greater respect for their citizens’ rights to free expression, association, peaceful assembly, and nationality.
  • Feb 25, 2015
    All Olympic host countries should ensure protection of human rights, including labor and free media protections, and implement anti-corruption measures in the lead-up to and during Olympic Games, the new Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) said today ahead of a key meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week.
  • Feb 5, 2015
    Qatari authorities should implement labor reforms to protect migrant workers from serious human rights abuses; proposed reforms in 2014 are a welcome step but need to go further, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.
  • Dec 17, 2014
    We write to ask whether FIFA is taking any steps to integrate human rights provisions in its Statute and contract requirements for future FIFA World Cup hosts, similar to those recently adopted by the International Olympic Committee, and to request an early meeting with you to discuss this and other human rights concerns, notably continued discrimination that bars women and girl spectators from attending football matches in Iran.
  • Oct 15, 2014
  • May 14, 2014
    A long-awaited report has criticised Qatar's controversial kafala system as "no longer the appropriate tool for the effective control of migration". This negative assessment of the system, which binds workers to one employer, carries all the more weight because it is the central finding of a report the Gulf state commissioned in response to international outrage over its treatment of migrant workers.
  • May 2, 2014
    King Juan Carlos is visiting Kuwait and Bahrain this week, after Abu Dhabi and Qatar two weeks ago in a series of visits to the gulf region that will also take him to Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next two months. He is traveling with a high-level delegation that includes the ministers of foreign affairs, transport, defense and energy, as well as the heads of some of Spain’s biggest companies.