Citizen Activists Call for a Boycott of Qatar Airways in Miami

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS CALL FOR
A BOYCOTT OF QATAR AIRWAYS IN MIAMI

A new effort has begun to challenge Americans to vote with their consumer dollars by boycotting Qatar Airways who is aggressively attempting to expand service in the United States.  

The group AWARE (Alliance for Workers Against Repression Everywhere) is "a coalition of organizations committed to fighting abuses of human rights worldwide."  One of the issues they are raising is that workers in the Middle East are mistreated, to say the least. According to their website, the nation state of Qatar is the first on their list of abusers.

As Miami, FL is accepting flights from Qatar Airways, citizen activists have launched a campaign to raise awareness as to how Qatar treats workers.  BoycottQatarAirways.com is petitioning Miami-Dade County Mayor, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, to stop doing business with Qatar Airways and challenging the public to "Speak with your wallet.  Boycott Qatar Airways when you travel."

"Don't fly with governments and airlines that have blood on their hands."

- Petition at Change.org to the Mayor of Miami

From the website, BoycottQatarAirways.com:

"All Americans should demand transparency and basic human rights for people everywhere, especially from those we allow to do business in our country.

Therefore we are calling on all conscientious residents of Miami-Dade and Florida to join our effort by demanding our local and state governments prohibit all official travel on Qatar Airways."

So what is the problem?  What is the issue with Qatar, the country, and Qatar Airways, specifically?  

"Qatar Airways is owned by the country."

- Mike Lux, Advisory Board Chair of AWARE

From BostonGlobe.com, Group calls for boycott of Qatar Airways ahead of Logan debut, March 10, 2016:

“Qatar Airways is owned by the country. They’re very heavily subsidized by the country, and our feeling is that the United States should be much tougher on human rights violations as we’re starting to do a lot of business with these folks in Qatar,” said Mike Lux, advisory board chair of AWARE.

“Bostonians should boycott companies owned and operated by nations that commit serious human rights abuses,” Lux said.

"Qatar is a slave state"

- Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the
International Trade Union Confederation

From the BostonGlobe.com, Workers’ group calls FIFA sponsors responsible for Qatar abuses,May 18, 2015:

"Sponsors know that Qatar is a slave state,’’ she said. ‘‘This is the richest country in the world and they don’t have to work this way ... fans don’t want the game to be shamed this way.’’

She said the International Olympic Committee had established criteria for human rights standards ‘‘(but) FIFA refuses to talk about the issue.’’

From their website at BoycottQatarAirwarys.com/the-project:

  • It’s been widely reported by international media that every week approximately 29 migrant workers will die – total deaths are estimated to be 4,000 – building the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer facilities in Doha because of deplorable working conditions.
  • The expansion of the State of Qatar’s commercial enterprises, including state-owned Qatar Airways, reflects the “smoke and mirror” tactics used by the Qatari government to hide the inhumane treatment of its most vulnerable workers.  The de facto marketing arm of the state, Qatar Airways, is expanding rapidly across the globe and touts itself as “luxurious” and “world-class,” while at the same time, masking egregious human rights abuses being committed within the country.
  • Qatar Airways has, itself, abused its employees who work under the careful watch of the Qatari government. In Doha, the airline mandates that its employees live in company housing with strict curfews, where their personal lives are monitored, and bans workers from marrying without its permission.
  • At Qatar Airways, female employees who become pregnant can be terminated.  Women must follow strict grooming policies including weight limits; a throwback to an era when age and sex discrimination were the norm. 
  • Qatar Airways has stated publicly that the airline “is bound by the laws of the countries it serves, and it tailors its employment practices accordingly.”  According to Human Rights Watch, Qatar’s laws thereby prohibit all migrant workers, which make up 99% of the workforce, from unionizing or protesting, and leaves them unprotected from human trafficking, forced labor, and other human rights violations.
  • Domestic laborers in Qatar are excluded from the country’s labor laws, even as they face outrageous sexual and physical abuses; are forced into 100-hour+ work weeks; and are held against their will with their passports confiscated by employers who cite the Kafala sponsorship system, which effectively allows employers to deny workers their exit visas.
  • In Qatar, workers often complain they are denied wages and are forced to live in unsanitary housing. 
  • The LGBT community lacks any basic protections, as being homosexual is illegal and can be punishable by death.