The Gulf states construction boom has resulted in many migrant workers fleeing their country in hope of a better standard of living. They do this not only for themselves but for the families they leave behind. So how much do we really know about these labourers? There are over a million migrant workers in Qatar who play a vital role in the countries impressive infrastructure, especially the upcoming games of the World Cup 2022. Which is not a surprising as 2005 figures show that there are over one hundred and ninety million migrant workers in the world, (Ravenhill 2011). Qatar’s migrant workers are largely from a Pakistani, Indian and Nepalese origin and are subjected to hazardous working conditions and long working hours. As low as fifty seven pence an hour and death tolls are expected to reach four thousand. According to (Amnesty International, 2014) companies are accused of withholding their passports to restrict them from returning home, therefore leaving them in a state of limbo.
The Kalafa labour law is a system whereby the worker is inevitably tied to their employer, (The Guardian, 2014). This can be regarded as a fine example of modern day slavery, which has sparked the awareness and scrutiny of FIFA, NGO groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. However lip service continues to be paid to resolving the dreadful and cruelness against the vulnerable workers. Yet until relatively recently policy makers in the IFI have ignored the ongoing problem of inequality, instead give priority towards economic growth through a neo-liberal market-led policy approach (Chopper 2012). The inequality in Qatar seems to be very apparent due to the principal actors being selfish and concerned with one thing, their national interest (Waltz, 2001)
One may argue the initiating cause of this problem stems from economic inequality which produces societies winners and losers. Marxist believe that the working class are inevitably exploited by the capitalism. They go on further by saying those who own the means of production exploit their workers, who in return generate a lot of wealth for the capitalist system. Therefore due to false class consciousness the migrant workers in Qatar will continue on facing these calamities and think of it as normal and acceptable.
I am deeply convinced that the outcome will be that FIFA will not withdraw Qatar from hosting the World Cup 2022. This is due to many reasons such as the economic power of the oil-riched state and also the controversy surrounding the initial bid. It is very obvious that money can silence many in the political field. Developed countries intervened in countries such as Libya and Iraq due to the “violations of human rights” therefore it is clear to see that nations only intervene when it is beneficial for them, if not, it is simply not their concern. To what extent can money be used as a means of escape?
By Hufan Jama
Hopper, P. (2012) Understanding Development, 1st edn., Cambridge : Polity Press.
Khan, A. (2014) ‘Why it’s time to end kafala’, The Guardian, Wednesday February, p. .
Waltz, K.N. (2001) Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis, 1st edn., New York: Columbia University Press .
Amnesty International (2013) The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s Construction Sector Ahead of The World Cup, United Kingdom: Amnesty International Publications.
ITCU (2014) The Case Against Qatar , Belgium: Sharon Burrow, General Secretary.
Wolff, J. (1991) Robert Nozick: Property, Justice, and the Minimal State, 1st edn., USA: Stanford University Press.