For They Think That We’re Machines, Amnesty interviewed 34 workers in the security sector in Qatar between April 2021 and February 2022, collected documentary evidence such as employment contracts, photographs and video footage, and reviewed and analysed secondary sources including Qatari laws and FIFA policies. Many of the guards, all migrants working for eight private firms in Qatar, claimed they had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They lived in cramped conditions, were threatened with large salary deductions if they wanted to take a rest day, were fined huge amounts for mistakes at work and were made to work outside without shelter in the searing heat.
Despite important labour reforms of the kafala sponsorship system (the fixed term sponsorship of migrant workers) since 2017, the report proves that migrant workers across this sector continue to be subjected to serious abuses that sometimes amount to forced labour or modern-day slavery. All of the featured private security companies had in some way failed to meet their responsibility to respect human rights under international standards and had breached various provisions of Qatari law. Further, the Qatari authorities, FIFA and its World Cup organising partners had failed to prevent a wide range of human rights abuses. Amnesty’s Head of Economic and Social Justice said ‘our research suggests that abuses…remain systematic and structural’. Amnesty made a number of recommendations for improvements to the private companies, Qatar authorities and FIFA. You can read the full report at rb.gy/zywan7.