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.
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.
Vague provisions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) joint security agreement raise concerns. Member countries could use the agreement to suppress free expression and undermine privacy rights of citizens and residents.
Prince Charles has an opportunity on this visit to go beyond talking in generalities about inter-faith dialogue and tolerance to the very Gulf rulers whose governments consistently repress dissent and subject women, religious minorities and migrant workers to egregious abuses. We urge him to do so and to confound his minders and advisers by speaking up for rights and justice.
International criticism over serious abuses of migrant workers was focused on Qatar during 2013, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014. The authorities have ignored warnings to reform a legal and regulatory system that facilitates forced labor.