The Truth about UCL Qatar!

Human Rights Abuses how Why We are Campaigning to Stop Them

UCL Campus was established in 2012 and offers various masters and research programs. You must, however, be aware of the terrifying work conditions and more than a thousand workers that died during the building work for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

UCL Qatar
UCL Qatar

This not exclusive to the World Cup, Qatar is know for the vile Kafala system that affects migrant workers (94% of the work-force in Qatar). These workers enter the country through a sponsorship (kafala) system where their bosses are their sponsors. That results many times in the confiscation of their passports by the bosses. Besides, most workers are paid about $1 per hour and most of their first salaries goes towards the plane/boat ticket they took to get to Qatar. Without a passport or money and trapped by the kafala system that states that they need permission from their bosses to move jobs, workers find themselves imprisoned. Workers are also barely allowed to organize to fight for a better life. Trade
unions in Qatar have to be linked to a national state-supervisioned union, and strikes can only happen
after governemntal approval.

LGBT+ Rights Abuses

LGBT+ rights in Qatar are not great either. Currently transgender people do not have the right to challenge their legal gender, male homosexuality is considered a crime and lesbians can also be punished for violating “morality laws”. It is repulsive that UCL, proud to be one of the first university in the UK founded on humanist grounds, have not reacted to those practices in Qatar.

At UCL, 2 December 2014. Omar Raii introducing Shreya Paudel.
At UCL, 2 December 2014. Omar Raii introducing Shreya Paudel at our meeting asking “is UCL complicit in modern-day slavary?”.

What we can do:

We should stand up to defend the rights of our fellow students and workers in UCLQ. Workers should have a decent wage, an independent union and similar work conditions to the workers in the London campus; students should organize in a student union; and LGBT+ students and staff should be protected
from discrimination of any kind.

Last term we organised a meeting together with the University and Colleges Union (UCU) at UCL, asking “Is UCL Complicit in Modern-Day Slavery?”. We had three speakers, including Shreya Paudel – the NUS International Students’ Officer, whose uncle was kidnapped while investigating workers’ rights violations in Qatar – as well as Stephen Russell from the and Alison McGovern MP, the Shadow Children’s Minister.

This term we will be stepping up our campaign to expose and shame the UCL bosses for their compliance with the Qatari Government’s abuses of human rights together with UCLU Amnesty International Society.

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