Qatar pays appreciable attention to migrant workers and considers them as authentic partners in the development and renaissance projects pursued by the country, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs HE Dr Ahmed Hassan Al Hammadi has said.
He stressed that this is in line with the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which includes recruiting migrant workers, protecting their rights, and enhancing economic growth opportunities.
Dr Hammadi was speaking at an event to mark the International Migrants Day, organised by the Mission of United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the title ‘International Migrants Day: Success Stories from Qatar’.
“Thanks to the implementation of Qatar National Vision 2030, Qatar is witnessing a distinct stage in its history, represented in its progress towards a complete, comprehensive and accelerated development, which results in the state recording rates of growth and economic recovery that it has not witnessed before,” he said, adding that expatriate workers play a pivotal role in this development, which is why protecting and promoting their rights has always been a strategic choice and a moral obligation before it was a political and legal obligation.
He pointed out that the last stage witnessed fundamental legislative and institutional reforms aimed at strengthening and protecting the rights of migrant workers in Qatar and creating a safe and balanced work environment in line with the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO), as the sponsorship system was abolished and replaced with a contractual system.
He added that specific measures were adopted to improve conditions and procedures for hiring expatriate workers, such as the system of wage protection, inspection, occupational safety and health, facilitating access to justice for workers, and removing restrictions related to changing employers.
Dr Hammadi said Qatar is convinced that wealth lies in diversity and that migrant workers all over the world play an important role in achieving development in the countries to which they migrate and in their countries of origin.
“Therefore, the country has always maintained that the issues of immigration and the presence of foreigners must be addressed in a fair, comprehensive and balanced manner that takes into account the social and economic dimensions and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of these people,” he added.
He reiterated Qatar’s keenness to enhance coordination with various organisations and authorities concerned with migrant workers, as offices for the International Organization for Migration and the International Labor Organization were opened in Doha.
He added that Doha’s hosting of these offices, along with a number of representative offices of other UN organisations and agencies, confirms the belief of Qatar’s leadership in the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership with the United Nations and contributing to enabling it to enhance its ability to implement its regional and international activities and programmes.
The MoFA secretary-general pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic represented the greatest challenge witnessed by humanity since World War II and the founding of the United Nations, explaining that the pandemic’s health, social, and economic effects crossed all borders, as no country was able to address it alone.
Since the outbreak of this pandemic, Qatar has realised the need for an urgent and coordinated national and international response to address it, and it took effective measures at the national level to limit the spread of the pandemic, taking into account the needs of some groups, including migrant workers, he added, pointing out that it provided full and easy access to care services and fair and equitable access to the vaccine, without discrimination.
“In fulfillment of its humanitarian duty at the international level, Qatar has continued to provide aid for the urgent response to the pandemic, with contributions exceeding $140 million, from which 80 countries have benefited, along with many international organisations, especially the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI),” he added.
Dr Hammadi reiterated that Qatar will continue to support all efforts aimed at obtaining vaccinations for everyone, especially in light of the spread of new COVID-19 variants that are still emerging.
He appreciated the efforts of IOM Chief Iman Ereiqat, wishing her and the organisation’s office in Qatar every success in carrying out their tasks.
The parties participating in the ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Labour HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, highlighted the achievements made by Qatar in the field of migrant workers, highlighting the active and leading role of the various ministries of the state in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals implemented by United Nations programmes and institutions.