But they are beneath us

The UN office of the high commissioner for human rights is urging Qatar to be less shitty to migrant workers, who make up 88% of the population. (I can’t be the only one who is reminded of Sparta and the helots.) That and a dime will get you a grain of rice, no doubt, but still – the OHCHR is doing it.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, urged the Qatari authorities to use the 2022 World Cup to improve the situation of migrant workers and their families in the country. Qatar has the highest ratio of migrants to citizens in the world; nearly 88 per cent of the total population are foreign workers, employed largely in construction, services and domestic work. 

“I hope the 2022 World Cup will be used as an opportunity for Qatar to enhance the effective respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights of migrant workers,” Mr. Crépeau said at the end of his first official visit* to the country to assess the human rights situation of migrants.

He also called on the Government of Qatar to create a more positive perception of migrants in Qatari society, stressing that “migrants undertake important jobs in the country, are an essential part of Qatar’s economic success, and deserve to see their dignity and rights protected on par with that of citizens.”

“The vast majority of migrants in Qatar are in the country at the government’s invitation, and they have received work permits in order to fill labour needs, which are largely created by Qatar’s booming economy, massive construction projects, and widespread reliance on domestic workers,” the expert said.

So the UN is telling Qatar, don’t treat foreign workers as a giant helot caste. Well where’s the fun in that?!

The expert drew special attention to the long term administrative detention, in some cases as much as one year, which can be applied to migrants awaiting deportation under the 2009 sponsorship law.

“I urge the authorities to systematically rely on non-custodial measures rather than detention,” he said. “As long as there is no risk of the migrant absconding from future proceedings, and they do not present a danger to themselves or others, detention is not necessary and thus a violation of their rights.”   Mr. Crépeau noted that the majority of the women in the country’s deportation centre had ‘run away’ from abusive employers, particularly the domestic workers, and they wanted to return to their countries of origin. “It is very unlikely that they present any risk of absconding,” he said.

“Accommodating such women in open shelters, instead of building a new ward for women at the deportation centre, would provide a much better and cheaper solution,” the independent expert noted. “Similarly, children should never find themselves in detention: migrant women with children should always be hosted in shelters.”

“In the central prison, there were several women who were sentenced to one year prison for ‘adultery’ for having a baby while being unmarried. These women thus live in the prison with their babies, in conditions which are in clear violation of the principle of the best interests of the child,” the UN Special Rapporteur underlined.

In other words Qatar imprisons people for quitting jobs. It imprisons women for quitting jobs with abusive employers, and it imprisons children for being born to women who quit jobs.




  1. RJW says

    “François Crépeau, urged the Qatari authorities to use the 2022 World Cup to improve the situation of migrant workers and their families in the country.

    Non, Monsieur Crapo, that won’t work, the ruling caste has no concept of universal human rights, we’re dealing with people from the 7th century, they brutalise their fellow Moslems as well, not just the Kuffar and the situation is not much different in other Gulf States.

    Why did those moral imbeciles in FIFA choose that toxic ‘country’ as as venue for the World Cup in the first place? Any suggestions?

  2. drken says

    Qatar got the World Cup by bribing FIFA officials who make the Olympics look like moral beacons. Nobody in the world of Soccer (or Football if you prefer) thought it was a good idea, or that Qatar deserved it. Not surprisingly, one of the arguments against them was that they’ll build the facilities with migrant workers, who will be treated like glorified slaves. Qatar gave all sorts of assurances that workers will be treated well. Given that Qatar and the other British appointed, family-owned-oil-companies-with-a-seat-on-the-UN treat migrant workers like slaves for everything else, there was no reason to believe them. But, FIFA gave them the World Cup anyway. Check out the Soccer/Football webosphere and you’ll hear very few people who are surprised at this.

  3. Desert Son, OM says

    RJW at #1:

    Why did those moral imbeciles in FIFA choose that toxic ‘country’ as as venue for the World Cup in the first place? Any suggestions?

    Some relevant information. The public relations reason is the chance to foster greater unity among the Arab world and between the Arab and Western worlds by encouraging the international game’s presence in that region. In addition to the labor and empowerment problems Ophelia highlights in the subject post, homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

    Also, the 2018 World Cup is in Russia, which has most recently demonstrated an appalling record on LGBTQ+ rights, as well.

    Ultimately, though, any discussion of the World Cup is a discussion about the money involved. You can delve into the finances of FIFA more here, but just as example, the 2010 World Cup grossed FIFA $1.3 billion (in U.S. dollars), minus another $1.08 billion in declared expenses, for a net of $202 million.

    The bidding process includes financial incentives from the potential host nations.

    Why did they choose Qatar in 2022 (and Russia in 2018)? Cue the Pink Floyd song.

    Still learning,


  4. RJW says

    Yes, and since the FIFA board is stacked with representatives from nations where the concept of human rights is regarded as a bizarre Western delusion and corruption is normal, there will probably be more of these repugnant decisions.

    And of course money is always useful anywhere.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    Why don’t they just open schools and start training programs so that low income native Qataris could do these jobs. Nooooo! They’d just spend their income in ways that would create a middle class. And even worse, local women might be quite good at some of these jobs and who knows what would become of their daughters.

    If you know about Spartan culture you know that the helots were not the biggest threat to the Spartan system. The “perioikoi”, literally “housed among us”, who were the biggest threat. They were the technically free artisan and farming class, but they were subjected to some abuses the helots never suffered.

    Qatar is moving in helots to do jobs that should belong to the perioikoi because the helots are less of a threat.

  6. RJW says

    The usual definition of “perioikoi” is “dwellers around (us)”.

    Since the status of the Helots is defined as ” between slave and serf”, the appropriate analogy is probably not found in ancient Sparta but modern history. The way that the Gulf sheikhdoms treat their imported workers has more in common with the Atlantic or North African slave trade, not Ancient Greece.

  7. lpetrich says

    One more example of how oil and democracy don’t mix very well. It’s the “resource curse”.

    The Gulf states have GDP’s per capita comparable to European and the overseas Anglo countries, but they are politically medieval, with their absolute monarchies.

  8. RJW says

    We often use the word ‘medieval’ to mean “backward or oppressive”, however it’s worth remembering that many of our most important institutions first appeared in the Middle Ages. What characterises modern Arab societies is, in the absence of a functioning state, the intense clan and family loyalties as many Westerners have learned to their cost.

  9. says

    glorified slaves

    They won’t be treated like glorified slaves; they’ll be treated like plain old slaves. I’ve been to Qatar. It’s an interesting place.

  10. thephilosophicalprimate says

    In the central prison, there were several women who were sentenced to one year prison for ‘adultery’ for having a baby while being unmarried.

    Anyone care to take a wager on what percentage of those “adulterous” unmarried women were in fact impregnated by their employers? And is it even possible to imagine meaningful consent in a situation with such grotesque power imbalance? It’s damned near a guarantee that some (and possibly all) of those women are being punished for being raped. The fact that their punishment for being raped — imprisonment and deportation — is much LESS severe than is faced by rape victims in many Islamic nations does not make it even slightly less repellent.

  11. Pen says

    Actually, we should be reminded of the rather more recent Caribbean colonies where a similarly large black population was controlled by an similarly tiny number of white owners and overseers. We really should learn something about the exercise of power from these situations.

  12. rnilsson says

    That “oik-” root is where we get the word “economics.”

    That implies that the meaning is “dwelling” or “home” since economics is the rules for housekeeping, or somesuch, and ecology is teachings of the place we live (Nature).
    This more or less concludes my -logy of ancient pig-Greek.

  13. says

    Yeah, the FIFA decisions have become more and more transparently about “how much cash can I stuff in my pockets before someone rats me out, and can I be sure to be in a country without extradition for financial fraud when that happens?” than anything vaguely football-related.

    And as much as we’d like to think we’re above it, it’s not just people who aren’t from western democracies that are doing this. CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean countries) has had its share of corruption issues as well, as has UEFA (Europe). FIFA makes the IOC look like Quakers when it comes to Doing Corruption Right, and the corruption is worldwide. The World Cup going to Qatar is a joke, particularly as planned in summer. Where local temps are regularly 40+ C. Not that the 2018 finals being held in Velikaya Respublika Putina* are any better.

    * Come on, how long does anyone think it’ll be before he gets the country’s name changed? The only way i think I’m wrong is I think he’ll work in a couple of more adjectives describing how big his dick is.

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