The Ethical Implications of the Kafala System

Joshua Nelson


Despite regional and culture differences, Persian Gulf countries such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are bound together by their use of the kafala system. Established in the 1930s, the kafala system came from the Bedouin custom of providing foreigners protection, or in some cases, affiliation with a tribe when passing through controlled territory. It was described by Azfar Khan of the International Labour Organization in The Guardian as “the best tradition of Arab hospitality,” a high compliment in a culture characterized by generous people and traditions. However, the current incarnation of the kafala system is a bastardization of previous forms, replacing generosity with greed, and honesty with deceit.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Comments on this article

View all comments

Copyright (c) 2017 Joshua Nelson

License URL:

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

This journal is published by the University Library System of the University of Pittsburgh as part of its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program.

ISSN 2160-5807 (online)