News item | 18-11-2022 | 5:17 pm

    A Dutch government delegation is going to the World Cup in Qatar. We answer some important questions.

    Why is a delegation on behalf of the Dutch government going to the World Cup in Qatar?

    Minister for Long-Term Care and Sport, Conny Helder, will be present at a group match of the Dutch national team as usual at major sporting events of this kind. The Netherlands has received an official invitation from Qatar for the Netherlands-Qatar match. No government delegation will be present at the other group matches.

    By sending a government delegation to the World Cup in Qatar, the government is opting for cooperation and continuing dialogue with Qatar, with a view to sustainable improvement of the situation of migrant workers in the country. This decision was taken on the basis of a thorough consideration and after consultation with international partners, including other countries, international organizations and human rights organisations.

    The government believes that the constructive and critical dialogue and cooperation with Qatar have had a visible positive effect on reforms and better working conditions in Qatar. Good relations with Qatar are important for the Netherlands. We need Qatar as a partner on important issues such as the evacuation from Afghanistan and energy supplies to Europe.

    Despite the labor reforms implemented, concerns remain. This includes the implementation and enforcement of these reforms. That is why the Minister for Long-Term Care and Sport will also pay attention to human rights and the situation of migrant workers during the World Cup on behalf of the government. Precisely by being present in Qatar at the World Cup, the dialogue with Qatar can be continued.

    Will the King and/or the Prime Minister go to the World Cup in Qatar?

    The cabinet has decided that the Minister of Sport, Minister Conny Helder, will be present at the group match of the Dutch national team against host country Qatar. There are no plans for the King or the Prime Minister to travel to Qatar for the group matches of the Dutch national team.

    If the Dutch national team qualifies for the knockout phase, the cabinet will reassess:

    • whether someone will travel on behalf of the government;

    And if yes:

    • who will travel on behalf of the Dutch government;
    • for which competition a delegation will travel on behalf of the Dutch government.

    What is the Netherlands doing for human rights in Qatar?

    Human rights are the foundation of a democracy. The Netherlands remains committed to protecting and promoting human rights worldwide. The Netherlands regularly discusses human rights with the Qatari authorities, both at a political and senior official level. The World Cup made it possible to discuss workers’ rights, but also other often sensitive and important human rights issues for the Netherlands. Think of freedom of the press, equal rights for women and LGBTIQ+ people.

    We also see that this has led to an improvement in the situation of labor migrants. Qatar has implemented the necessary reforms in recent years. The reforms in Qatar were partly brought about by the efforts of international organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and countries such as the Netherlands.

    A concrete result is the abolition of the most problematic and restrictive aspects of the so-called kafala or sponsorship system under which migrant workers had to work. The required exit visa and the ‘certificate of no objection’ have also been abolished. This makes it easier for migrant workers to change employers. In addition, electronic payments have been introduced and employee participation councils have been set up, a non-discriminatory minimum wage has been introduced, heat stress legislation has been introduced and a ‘Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund’ has been set up.

    Even after the World Cup, the government will continue to push for further improvements in human rights, specifically the position of labor migrants.

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