Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Worked to Death"

No, the headline does not apply to the treatment handed out to the North Koreans by its vile ruling class but refers to those employed in building the facilities for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Inhuman conditions for foreign workers in Qatar first came to light last September when the deaths of scores of Nepalese migrant workers were highlighted in a string of media reports. More than 400 Nepalese migrant workers have died on World Cup building sites as the Gulf state Qatar prepares to host the event in 2022, said a report from the Pravasi Nepali Co-ordination Committee (PNCC), a respected human rights organisation which compiles lists of the dead using  official sources in Doha.' (Observer, 16 February)

We can now add figures from the Qatar Indian embassy to the toll stating over 450 Indian migrant workers have died in the Persian Gulf state over the past two years. It said on average about 20 Indian migrants died in Qatar each month and the toll peaked last August when 27 of them lost their lives. Most of the workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Nepalese make up almost a sixth of two million migrant workers in Qatar. The PNCC, which follows up on migrant worker deaths in Qatar, has called on FIFA sponsors to reconsider their relationship with the football governing body.
“FIFA and the government of Qatar promised the world that they would take action to ensure the safety of workers building the stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. This horrendous roll call of the dead gives the lie to those reassurances,” said the PNCC. "These were young or otherwise able-bodied men, with their futures in front of them, families at home and everything to live for. Many have been literally worked to death. Some have met with even more sinister ends. All have been betrayed by FIFA," it added.

Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty has also criticized Qatar for the ruthless exploitation of foreign workers. “Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers.”

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