Doha: The government of Qatar has vowed to treat labour reforms as "a journey and not an end in itself" in response to an Amnesty Internationalreport that warned the country it was "running out of time" to stamp out labour abuse.
"From the outset, we have said that we understood labour reform would be a journey and not an end in itself," said a statement released by the Qatari government on Wednesday.
Amnesty, in its report published earlier this week, said migrant workers continued to be "vulnerable to serious abuses including forced labour and restrictions on freedom of movement".
"Time is running out if the Qatari authorities want to deliver a legacy we can all cheer, namely a labour system that ends the abuse and misery inflicted upon so many migrant workers every day," said Amnesty's Stephen Cockburn.
Qatar and its labour laws have been under the spotlight ever since it was named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And while Amnesty acknowledged Qatar had undertaken a reform process, it added that work still needed to be done.
Qatar, a gas-rich peninsula in the Gulf, has said that it was committed to labour reforms, adding that "lasting changes" take time.
"Far from seeing time as running out, the Government of the State of Qatar understands further change is needed and we remain committed to developing these changes as quickly as possible, while ensuring they are effective and appropriate for our labour market conditions," the statement further said.
"Practical, efficient and lasting change takes time and that is what we have committed to."
The statement also added that the government "penalised or banned" almost 12,000 companies in the country for violating its labour laws.