Rally against “21st century enslavement” in Qatar makes history


Dozens of activists marched in Doha at the weekend to protest against the human and labour rights abuses endured by migrant workers in Qatar.

There are an estimated 1.2 million migrant workers in the tiny Gulf state.

But despite the country’s extreme wealth these workers endure low pay and poor living and working conditions, as revealed in the latest Equal Times special report.

The march, organised by the ITUC, took place on Saturday at the same time as a climate change rally attended by more than 300 people.

It was the first time in Qatar’s history that protestors have spoken out against the treatment of migrant workers.

As well as being denied the right to form or join a union, many also endure conditions akin to “21st century enslavement” said the ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Speaking to Equal Times before the march Burrow said: “We are standing up for migrant workers here in Qatar.

“They have no rights, they have no voices so today we are their voice.”

Burrow also met with the Qatari Minister for Social Affairs and Acting Minister of Labour Nasser bin Abdullah al-Humaidi who promised the ITUC General Secretary that workers who wanted to establish or join a union would not be punished.

“We will test him on that," said Burrow.