Thursday, March 31, 2016

Amnesty International criticism returns Qatar to square one

James M. Dorsey,

uncaptioned image from article

A new report from Amnesty International slams Qatar for not living up to promises to improve workers’ rights and adds to a growing international criticism of Qatar’s inability to properly implement adopted policies.

World Cup host Qatar and FIFA are in public diplomacy terms back to square one with a just published Amnesty International report that takes the Gulf state to task for failing to implement lofty promises to significantly improve workers’ working and living conditions and the world soccer body for not ensuring that Qatar lives up to international standards.
The report, The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game, provides a damning assessment of the state of affairs five years after FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Amnesty interviewed more than 200 labourers working on the refurbishment of the Khalifa International Stadium, one of eight planned facilities for the World Cup, and the Aspire Zone sports complex, a pillar of Qatar’s sports infrastructure, who all complained about various violations of their human rights.
The report was published days after the International Labour Organization (ILO) put Qatar on notice that it no longer can delay acting on promises made in the wake of its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
In a rare move, the ILO threatened to establish a Commission of Inquiry if Qatar fails to act in the coming year. Such commissions are among the ILO’s most powerful tools to ensure compliance with international treaties. The UN body has only established 13 such commissions in its century-long history. The last such commission was created in 2010 to force Zimbabwe to live up to its obligations. ...
Qatar’s inability to manage that dilemma turns its high-profile sporting efforts into a self-defeating enterprise. Despite billions of dollars of investment in its soft power strategy, of which sports is an important pillar, and five years of seeking to convince the world that it is on the right track, Qatar retains more of an image of an energy-rich slave state than of a small country that is successfully carving out its place as a good citizen of the international community.


Philip Seib, Professor, University of Southern California; Qatar's Well-Funded Public Diplomacy, Huffington Post (2011)

Money is a wonderful thing. Qatar has plenty of it and is putting it to use in its expanded public diplomacy. With wealth rather than weaponry, Qatar is becoming a new kind of superpower. ...
Qatar’s ascendancy, like that of nearby Abu Dhabi, represents a change in the contemporary world order. Small but enormously wealthy states are using their resources to become centers of culture and education as well as finance, and they seem intent on proving that in this new century spending money to enhance intellectual capital is a viable means of wielding global influence.
That is the message implicit in Qatar’s rise. The rest of the world is taking note, and that is another sign that Qatar’s public diplomacy is proving successful.

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