Officials with the International Civil Aviation Organization are currently negotiating a new lease for their headquarters in Montreal, but another suitor has emerged.
Qatar has proposed that ICAO make Doha the permanent seat of the organization, starting in 2016.
Qatar’s offer, according to ICAO’s rules, must be considered by the organization’s 191 member states at the next assembly, which will take place on Sept. 24. Moving the organization to Qatar will require a three-fifths vote.
Outside organizations aren’t waiting until September to voice their opinion. The International Trade Federal sees a move to Qatar as a slap in the face to workers’ freedom.
“The UN cannot bend to the power of the Riyal at a time when ordinary Qataris’ fights for rights are met with massive repression,” Paddy Crumlin, ITF’s president, said in a statement. “It’s doubly outrageous when thousands of staff at Qatar Airways are denied the fundamental right to union membership enshrined by the UN.”
Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, pointed out that since international labor standards don’t apply in Qatar, the move would make a mockery of ICAO’s own sister organization, the International Labour Organization.
“No foreign employee, whether a cleaner or a football star is allowed to quit Qatar unless their employer allows them to,” she said.
If a new agreement is reached with Canada, it would begin Dec. 1, 2016, and run through Nov. 30, 2036. - Jon Ross