Qatar : NHRC Calls for More Awareness Drives to Safeguard Workers

Doha, 10 May 2020 (Qatar Tribune-QNA)

he National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has stressed the need for taking further awareness-raising measures and campaigns to protect workers and vulnerable groups amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The field visits and monitoring team of the NHRC said the committee continues to provide the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) with cases and complaints received by it.

During their meeting with officials from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the NHRC team underlined the need to make more efforts to provide necessary health services to workers. The NHRC also highlighted the fact that all citizens and residents in Qatar, especially the vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people
with disabilities, people with chronic diseases, and lowincome workers, have right to treatment and medicine in light of the COVID-19 spread.

It said the NHRC team continues to make field visits to penal institutions, detention centres, police stations, the Industrial Area, workers’ accommodations and hotel guests who are under quarantine.

NHRC Vice-Chairman Dr Mohammed bin Saif al Kuwari said the NHRC’s field visits and monitoring team have met with officials of the Labour Relations Department with the aim of familiarising with the measures and procedures regarding protecting workers’ rights during the current health crisis. Dr Kuwari said officials provided an overview of the measures taken by the ministry regarding workers’ rights and payment of wages during the coronavirus crisis, as well as the awareness campaign launched by the ministry, including carrying out nearly 2,400 field visits targeting approximately 160,000 workers.

He said the ministry’s officials indicated that it had instructed a number of measures to be taken by companies, which include exchanging information to increase
workers’ awareness and taking into account personal hygiene, restricting assembly to a minimum and reducing density, whether in housing or work sites.
Other measures to be taken include the role of the Occupational Safety and Health Supervisor defined by the policy on the procedures applied by companies to take advantage of clinics and conduct check ups for workers to ensure their safety and to reduce their bus capacity to 50 percent. It has also reiterated that the ministry’s Labour Inspection Department will monitor the companies’ compliance with this policy.

About the facilities offered to workers and the regulations used to facilitate the transfer of their salaries and money, the officials said MADLSA coordinated with the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), by facilitating the procedures and providing applications for financial transfers, due to the precautionary measures and the closure of money exchange houses.

The ministry also conducted awareness campaigns directly and through social media on the mechanism of using the applications, for workers or employers. They also reaffirmed that the payment of wages for workers, whether they are in quarantine or isolation, will continue based on instructions issued by the MADLSA.

The NHRC field visits and monitoring team referred cases that are difficult to settle amicably to the Labour Dispute Resolution Committee to settle them via electronic means, while intensifying instructions and awareness in the Industrial Area. here should also follow up complaints submitted and follow up agreements between the employers and workers so that there is no abuse by the employers.

/ Current Affairs

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About the Author

Editor and publisher Ashraf Siddiqui is a well known Qatar based journalist and a social worker. He has been in Arabian Gulf Peninsula over 4 decades and enjoys rich knowledge on Middle East affairs

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