German parliament urges Qatar to sustainably implement labour reforms

A recent public hearing organised by the Sports Committee of Germany’s federal parliament once again highlighted the challenging human rights situation in Qatar, host of this year’s World Cup. 

Sabine Poschmann, the parliament’s spokesperson on sports, said that while they recognise that there have been improvements in the protection of workers' rights in Qatar in recent years, there is a lot of catching up when it comes to implementation.

“The reforms can be seen as major achievements, especially when compared regionally. However, there are still serious challenges to the reform process. We call on the Qatari government to address this by ensuring its unequivocal compliance with the newly introduced legal regulations,” Poschmann said.

Poschmann, who is a member of the German parliament since 2013, sees the Qatari government’s continuing commitment to work with stakeholders even after the World Cup as a “positive signal.” Representing the Bundestag, she threw her support for the establishment of a Migrant Workers’ Center in Qatar.

The German parliamentarian also called for the reform of the awarding process for future major sports events. She explained that the allocation and organisation of major international sporting events should strictly comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Sustainability.”

“Qatar’s commitment to work with international trade unions, such as the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI), beyond the World Cup is a positive signal. As such, the challenge is to push for more labour reforms that will endure even after the World Cup. In this context, we support the call for the establishment of a centre for migrant workers in Qatar,” Poschmann said. 

In addition to improving labour rights, Poschmann also expects the Qatari government to implement reforms that protect the rights of women workers and the LGBT community. She said that Qatar must ensure that people, regardless of gender, can move around safely during the World Cup and do not become victims of discrimination. 

BWI Deputy President Dietmar Schafers was invited to the parliament’s committee hearing as a resource expert. He lauded Poschmann and the Bundestag’s strong support for the creation of a centre for migrant workers in Qatar. “The German parliament’s support for this cause is greatly welcomed by BWI and its affiliates. This will surely boost our campaign and bring us closer to our goal,” he said.