On March 17, 2009, the Solidarity Center and the Qatar National Human Rights Committee signed a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding in Doha aimed at strengthening cooperation around human and worker rights issues and fighting human trafficking.
||Solidarity Center Executive Director Ellie Larson and Qatari National Human Rights Committee Ali Al-Marri sign the MOU in Doha.
The agreement, signed by Solidarity Center Executive Director Ellie Larson and NHRC Chairman Ali Al-Marri, outlines the framework for a joint 2009-2010 program in Qatar. NHRC Chairman Al-Marri said that the MOU opens the door for a partnership with an organization that has much experience in training, education, and raising awareness of worker rights protection issues. He added that signing the MOU does not mean that respect for human rights in Qatar has declined; rather, he said, “The agreement provides an opportunity to raise human and worker rights standards even higher. With a network of offices in South and Southeast Asian labor sending countries, the Solidarity Center’s relationships can help resolve many challenges facing migrant workers in both sending and receiving countries”.
“The Solidarity Center will assist the NHRC via training and education programs, exchange of views, experiences, and research on solutions for both Qatari and foreign workers and training for employers so Qatar can be a good role model and an example for the respect of workers and their rights,” said Larson. ”The Solidarity Center works around the world and strives to contribute to building democracy, fostering human rights, and raising the capacity of trade unions, NGOs, and governments to eliminate labor exploitation, including trafficking in persons and the exploitation of migrant workers, child laborers, and women workers, and to improve the lives of workers overall.”
U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron, who attended the signing ceremony in Doha, applauded both organizations on their commitment to the protection of human rights and particularly worker rights. “This MOU brings together two organizations of formidable commitment and experience and builds an alliance between them that will be beneficial for raising awareness not only in Qatar but in other Gulf countries,” he said.
The Solidarity Center and the NHRC share a commitment to advancing human rights standards in Qatar. Both institutions recognize that worker rights are fundamental human rights, in accordance with international conventions of the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. Both believe strongly that all workers have the right to decent working and living conditions. And both see advancing basic rights at work as a goal that encompasses both Qatari citizens and foreign nationals who seek employment in Qatar, whether for a short or long period of time.
The Solidarity Center and the NHRC also recognize that low-paid workers in specific sectors are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, not only in Qatar but also in the United States and around the world. Consequently, the agreement will focus on developing a partnership that will seek to improve the basic human rights of the most vulnerable workers, as a means toward raising the floor of minimum standards for all working people in Qatar.
Read more about the signing on the NHRC website
On June 10, 2008, the Solidarity Center hosted the Qatar National Human Rights Committee for an important exchange on worker rights.
On February 20, 2009, the NHRC cemented its relationship with the Solidarity Center in its second visit in less than a year.