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Human Rights is not a privelege - it is a fundamental basic principal of humanity. We see abuse all over the world of peoples basic rights and we must stand up to end this abuse. Every cause against the violation of other human beings is a worthy cause.

The Human Rights Committee and Ministry of Interior here in Qatar must become pro-active in ending the abuses taking place in its own country.

Human Rights abuses are more frequent in Qatar than what is actually reported. They are masked and hidden to the outward eyes looking in! The sponsors abusing law and human rights are often protected because they are Qatari Nationals. The rest of us which experience this abuse live in fear of reporting it to Authorities. Even in cases where it is reported, next to no action is taken against the perpetrator.

Instead those that do report such actions are often cancelled and deported or left to face bogus cases with all their rights stripped from them.

Come inside Qatar with us to take a look at what this dynamic, growing country, striving to gain a respectable image around the world - is really about.

Come on Inside!

From the outside Qatar looks like a booming country of opportunity striving to make changes to better itself. You can see, read and hear about all the wonderful changes under His Highness the Amir. Under his excellent leadership the country is building a respectable image as it participates in world events that concern us all.

Inside we see new towers everyday; grass growing in a baren land that once just a dessert; flowers that bloom in all shades and colors; a beautiful sea that practically surrounds the entire country; and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

One can only look on with great respect as this small country comes to life under amazing leadership. Qatar's vision under his excellency comes alive because of the hundreds of thousands of laborers and people from all professions and nationalities that come to bring this vision to reality!

The expat community are contributing members of this society and this country. Without this community today and its ability to be sustained in the future Qatar will not realize its' ultimate vision.

One would have us believe that from a human rights point of view Qatar is progressing. It has in many ways progressed by instituting organizations such as the National Human Rights Committee. But at the end of day these bodies have next to no decision making authority.

The laws are in place but there is no one to enforce them. Let's take a look inside Qatar at what life is really like for the expats that devoted a part of their life to come and build this nation.

Let's take a look at all the camps of laborer's where accomodations are not fit for animals let only people.

Let us look at all the laborer's who came to Qatar from difficult countries with the hope of being able to provide better for their families. Their dream's shattered when they go months without the salary they rightfully earned.

Let us look at all the worker's needlessly killed and seriously injured because their employees chose to break the law.

Let us look at how often a sponsor gets away with wreckless and criminal negligence only to have those seeking their rights promised by law punished.

When you come inside you will wonder how is such a wealthy country, with such strong leadership and vision allowing it's own people to abuse human rights.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Misled

Our Canadian friend tells us that in April 2007, she went to work for a company in Qatar. She accepted what seemed to be a really good job with a good company. Not there one week when she began to question what she had gotten myself into.

She was hired as the General Manager and had about 270 people reporting to her. Within a week she became aware of many issues. People had not been paid for two months, they were hungry and when she visited them at the accomodations she thought for sure she would be sick. She says to put it midly "I would not allow an animal to live in the housing they live in - let alone a human being".

She was sure there had to be a mistake. "This Qatari man that hired me can't possibly not know what is going on". Staff were telling me wait one more week he will gone from Doha and you will see the truth.

"Excerts from her email to us - My friends, they were right! About a week later he left for Dubai and then Beirut. He goes for long periods of time and I can honestly say in my six months there I saw him maybe a total of eight times for an hour here and there. In the meantime I was left with a company I had no clue how was going to get them out of the mess they were in.

By June 2007, I wanted to leave the company. But I felt I was abadoning the staff and chose to stay on and try whatever I could to help. In the months to come, I began to understand all the details of the company, its' money and its' owner. By August 2007 I decided this company I cannot work in a company that is grossly negligent and breaks the laws. The company has no interest in paying people, treating people fairly and is much more concerned with what money can be removed from the company.

I decided I must resign. I cannot work in a company that steals, cheats and is negligent. This is when I was warned by many be careful because this Qatari won't let you resign. He will destroy your life first as he did to the past five managers.

None-the-less, I am a Canadian and I am not working for a company that breaks the laws and treats people in in-humane ways that I cannot accept. Finally, I was able to submit my resignation, giving plenty of notice and my desire to assist as much as possible. During my notice period while working at GSS and behind my back he had my visa stopped.

This Canadian Citizen is now a prisonner to GSS. There is something remarkably funny about this, because I am sure GSS now not know what Canadians are made of. This company does not scare me and in fact I think it is nothing more than abuse and intimidation tactis that they have gotten away with for way too long.

In Canada, we don't tolerate companies like this, nor do we accept this kind of behavior in our society. Furthermore, we do not accept anyone or any company that abuses the fundamental basic rights of another human being. GSS cannot remove my freedom, because my freedom is a state of mind and heart. You can stop me from exiting, but you can't stop me from expressing my freedom.

This company has taken what was meant to be proper sponsorship laws and has turned it in their own laws where I own you, I can do what I want to you and I can cancel you at anytime if I feel like it. If you are not happy that you have not been paid I will have you cancelled so you cannot return.

What I find incredibely saddening is that the great country of Qatar is blemished by such a company. What I find even more saddening is the 270 people I left behind to tolerate this company's abuse".

Help us help to assist our Canadian friend and all the managers and workers at GSS. Vote on this blog and send your letters to the Minister and Amnesty.

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In the News - The Gulf Times - Sleepless in Doha


Letters to the Editor
Published: Monday, 11 August, 2008, 01:38 AM Doha Time

A sense of hope
Dear Sir, I would like to applaud Gulf Times for all its recent articles on the issues faced by the labour community in Qatar. It gives me a great sense of hope that people do in fact care about what happens to these people. I have had a very painful battle for well over a year now for having reported a company that was severely negligent with its employees and chose to break Qatar law.

While I have seen progress on behalf of the government and National Human Rights Committee, I feel that is very slow in coming. Companies are behaving this way because they are getting away with it and they bear no consequence for their actions. Since that time many labourers from other companies have come to me seeking help and guidance. I guess news spreads rapidly throughout this community and it is hard to turn your back on something you know is very wrong.


Reporting and following up on these matters has brought some help forward for these people. For me my actions have earned me the status of being detained by one owner determined to seek revenge. I have now been over one year in Qatar on an expired visa and am unable to exit.

Human Rights issues cannot be hidden by money and wealth and the companies who choose to behave in such a way should be exposed for what they are. I hope Gulf Times will continue to publish such stories.
Christine McPherson, P O Box 10445Doha

In the News

Several laborers from Asian countries working at a construction site in the Al Rayan area are seriously injured and rushed to hospital when the concrete roof of the building collapses on them. The company not disclosed in the news was in breach of Qatar Laws which state workers must not be working during the hours of 11:30 am to 3:00 pm for their protection.

Since this accident we have made it a point to drive throughout Doha during the hours of 11:30 to 3:00 pm and have found many worksites were not shut down and laborers continued to work.

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