Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders Monday exchanged instruments of ratification of a bilateral agreement on protection and promotion of investments between Belgium and Qatar with the Qatari Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Al Rumaihi.
A Belgian foreign ministry statement noted that the agreement includes an extensive social clause, which specifically provides for the possibility to conduct bilateral consultations on compliance with social and environmental standards.
With this in mind, Reynders and Al Rumaihi discussed the conditions of the labor market in Qatar, particularly within the framework of the preparation of the world football cup in 2022.
Reynders said there were many Belgian companies interested in contracts for the world football cup within a safe working environment.
On his part, Rumaihi pointed out that several laws and regulations had been adopted by Qatar to stop abuses observed against foreign workers. Health standards, better housing space, and special clinics, and safety for construction workers concerned were enacted, he added.
The number of labor inspectors deployed on different sites increased from 120 to 250. Qatar has also set up special courts for work in this area and acquired the services of two international consulting firms to assist in this subject.
Reynders, however, said it important to see how this translates into practice, particularly in the context of visits and stressed that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) should be involved in monitoring these initiatives.
Al Rumaihi has welcomed the proposal to receive visits, especially to study the functioning of the newly established courts, added the statement