Newscast Media DOHA—Dozens of Nepalese migrant laborers died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labor abuses, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.
This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks, Al-Alam reported.
The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of laborers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labor Organization, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.
According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents.
The investigation also reveals:
• Evidence of forced labor on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.
• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and
have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.
• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and
refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.
• Some laborers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the
• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal
conditions of their employment.
The allegations suggest a chain of exploitation leading from poor Nepalese villages to Qatari leaders. The overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world’s most popular sporting tournament.
The investigation also found men throughout the wider Qatari construction industry sleeping 12 to a room in places and getting sick through repulsive conditions in filthy hostels.
Some say they have been forced to work without pay and left begging for food. Almost all migrant workers have huge debts from Nepal, accrued in order to pay recruitment agents for their jobs. The obligation to repay these debts, combined with the non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their place of work, constitute forced labor, a form of modern-day slavery estimated to affect up to 21 million people across the globe.
So entrenched is this exploitation that the Nepalese ambassador to Qatar, Maya Kumari Sharma, recently described the emirate as an “open jail”.
Source: FARS News Agency