Rights Call

DUBAI, April 22, 2014 (AFP) – Amnesty International accused authorities in gas-rich Qatar on Wednesday of failing to protect domestic workers, citing cases of abuse, sexual violence and “forced labour”. As she lay injured on the ground, her attacker sexually assaulted her before finally calling an ambulance.

Six months later, she was still using a wheelchair, Amnesty said, adding that her employer was never held accountable.

Women domestic workers who report sexual abuse risk being charged with “illicit relations”, a crime carrying a year-long jail sentence followed by deportation, said Amnesty.

Qatar has rejected claims that construction workers building World Cup venues are being mistreated and published guidelines in February to protect their rights.

Rights groups have frequently criticised the human rights record of wealthy Gulf state, namely over their treatment of millions of foreign workers who rely on local employers to sponsor them in what has been likened to modern-day slavery. In a report called “My sleep is my break: Exploitation of domestic labour in Qatar”, Amnesty spoke of “shocking testimonies of violent abuse”.

It said some of the women reported being “slapped,