US envoy to Qatar praises labour reforms, urges World Cup host nation to be 'tolerant'

US envoy to Qatar praises labour reforms, urges World Cup host nation to be 'tolerant'
During a media appearance at the US embassy in Doha, ambassador Timmy Davis said Qatar had made a 'real change' to labour laws.
2 min read
19 October, 2022
Workers on the construction site at Al-Wakrah Stadium (Al Janoub Stadium), a World Cup venue designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, some 15 kilometres on the outskirts of the Qatari capital Doha. [Getty]

The US envoy to Qatar has praised labour law reforms in the Gulf state and emphasised the implementation and improved prosecution of law reforms in the case of violations. 

During a media appearance at the US embassy in Qatar on Tuesday, ambassador Timmy Davis said that Qatar has made a "real change" to labour laws in recent years.

"They talk about what it means to ensure that people can come here, work safely, earn a good wage, change jobs if that's what they want to do. But they are overhauling a system that has not always been the most worker-friendly," the ambassador said.

While he praised labour law reforms, Davis also acknowledged there is "a lot of work left to do" on labour rights in Qatar. 

However, Davis added that open discussions have been taking place and that they were a move in the right direction.

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The envoy also urged Qatar's police and authorities to be tolerant and transparent as millions of football spectators are expected to flood Qatar during the FIFA 2022 World Cup set to kick off next month.

"We want to make sure that law enforcement ... is in the right place. We want to make sure that in the ministries there is a level of patience and tolerance for what the world brings when you invite the world to your country," Davis told the media according to a Reuters report.

"When you host a global event like this and you invite the world to come, you need to be open to the world and you need to be transparent in the ways that you're going to take care of visitors," Davis added. "Change is part and parcel of hosting people from all over the world ... in a big burst like a World Cup.” 

A diplomat and person with knowledge had previously reported to Reuters that World Cup spectators in Qatar caught committing minor offences may evade prosecution according to plans under development by authorities in the host nation.

The report also stated that organisers had informed diplomats and police from qualified countries they would be flexible for fans who commit 'relatively minor offences.'