Doha, May 10, 2020
The field visits and monitoring subcommittee of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) stressed the need for taking further awareness-raising measures and launching campaigns to protect workers and vulnerable groups, noting that the Committee continues to provide the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) with cases and complaints received by the NHRC under the current circumstances so that they can be resolved.
Similarly, in a meeting with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the field visits and monitoring subcommittee stressed the need to make more efforts to provide the necessary health services and guarantee the right to treatment and medicine for all citizens and residents in Qatar, especially vulnerable groups, such as elderly, people with disabilities or chronic diseases, workers and those with low-income, during the current crisis.
This meeting is as a continuation of the series of meetings and field visits made by the NHRC to correctional institutions, detention centres, police stations, the industrial area, workers’ accommodations and hotel guests under quarantine in order to check the implementation of the precautionary measures approved by authorities to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
Vice Chairman of the NHRC, Dr Mohammed bin Saif Al-Kuwari confirmed in a press statement that the NHRC’s field visits and monitoring team have met with officials of the Labour Relations Department at ADLSA with the aim to acquire information about the Ministry’s measures and procedures regarding protecting workers’ rights in light of the current health crisis and the extent to which they enjoy their rights stipulated in international laws, conventions and covenants related to human rights.
Dr. Al-Kuwari noted that officials of ADLSA 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.
Dr. Al-Kuwari added that the Ministry has instructed companies to adopt a number of measures, which include exchanging information to increase workers ‘awareness and taking into account personal hygiene, restricting assembly to a minimum and reducing housing density, whether in housing or work sites. Other measures to be taken include appointing Occupational Safety and Health Supervisor as per policies to be implemented by companies, so that they can take advantage of clinics, conduct medical examinations for workers to ensure their safety beside reducing workers bus capacity to 50%. He also reconfirmed that the Ministry will monitor companies’ compliance with these policies.
As for facilities offered to workers and regulations used to facilitate the transfer of their salaries in light of the precautionary measures taken by the State, officials explained that ADLSA coordinated with Qatar Central Bank in this regard due to the precautionary measures and the closure of money exchanging establishments, by facilitating procedures and providing applications for financial transfers, along with current applications run by the state agencies.
In a related matter, in a meeting with MOPH, the field visits and monitoring team of the NHRC reviewed precautionary measures and health services provided by the health institutions to combat the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and monitor the conditions and rights of citizens and residents, especially vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, people with disabilities or chronic diseases, workers and those with low-income, in accordance with international laws, conventions and covenants of human rights.