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Qatar called on to address rights issues

  |   Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM
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DOHA, Qatar, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Qatar is called on to use the 2022 World Cup as an opportunity to improve its human rights record, a U.N. special envoy said Wednesday from Doha.

The United Nations says Qatar has the highest ratio of migrants to citizens in the world. Francois Crepeau, U.N. special envoy on the human rights of migrants, said hosting the World Cup should give Qatar reason to address rights for migrant workers.

"I hope the 2022 World Cup will be used as an opportunity for Qatar to enhance the effective respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of migrant workers," he said in a statement. "Migrants undertake important jobs in the country, are an essential part of Qatar's economic success, and deserve to see their dignity and rights protected on par with that of citizens."

The envoy complained of instances of women serving time in Qatari prisons for having children out of wedlock.

Crepeau made his statement following an eight-day visit to Qatar.

In June, the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, handed over the reins of power to his 33-year-old son, Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani, after 18 years in power. The elder emir was quoted by al-Jazeera then as saying it was time for "a new chapter" in Qatar.

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