Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar

Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar

Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar

A major factor holding up an agreement to send Cambodian workers to Qatar is the Cambodian government’s refusal to send domestic workers to the country amid a “high risk” of sexual abuse, a Labour Ministry official said yesterday.

Cambodia and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 to allow Cambodians to work in the Middle Eastern state, where thousands of migrant workers, many from South Asia, have flocked for jobs in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup.

The agreement, however, is yet to be finalised as Cambodian officials attempt to negotiate safeguards amid widespread reports of unsafe working environments and physical and sexual abuse.

Yesterday, three Cambodian trade unions held a presentation for workers highlighting the potential risks of working in Qatar. According to some reports, more than 1,000 workers have died building stadiums ahead of the tournament.

Speaking yesterday, a Labour Ministry official said trips to Qatar by recruitment companies liaising with the ministry suggested the country was mainly interested in getting domestic workers rather than builders.

The official, who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said the same visits also fuelled concerns about what that might mean for those sent.

“Cambodian domestic workers often have very low education and they could be easily abused,” he said. “Our concern is the high risk of sexual abuse.”

He also noted that the average domestic worker wages in Qatar of $250 were less than in Thailand, while Qatar’s harsh laws could have grave consequences for those sent.

Speaking yesterday, Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said fears surrounding the abuse of domestic workers were “not the only problem” but said the ministry will focus on the issue.

Sok Chanpheakdey of Philimore recruitment agency, one of the firms with a licence to send workers to Qatar when the agreement is finished, has previously visited the country.

“We learned that the culture is a big problem and don’t want to send maids to Qatar.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former