A recent investigation conducted by The Guardian has revealed alarming data on Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers engaged in preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. According to findings, at least 44 Nepalese migrant workers have died in Qatar in recent weeks due to appalling labor conditions and abuses, and thousands more are trapped and exploited in what The Guardian calls a form of “modern-day slavery“.
Documents obtained by The Guardian from the Nepalese embassy in Doha reveal the deaths of 44 workers in the period between June 4th and August 8th. In addition, some Nepalese workers claim they haven’t been paid for months and that their employees retain their salaries as a way of preventing them from leaving. Workers’ passports and ID cards have also been withheld, which means that the workers can be considered illegal aliens by the authorities. About 30 Nepalese workers contacted their embassy asking for help.
The Guardian investigation has revealed alarming work conditions within the Qatari construction industry — overcrowded sleeping areas, unsanitary hostels, and instances of penniless Nepalese forced to beg for food. In light of these allegations, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee expressed their concern and said that an official investigation by the relevant government authorities is underway.
Qatar is home to about 1.2 million migrant laborers – primarily from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. These laborers comprise more than 90% percent of the entire Qatari workforce, and the country is expected to receive up to 1.5 million additional laborers for construction work on buildings and infrastructure needed for the World Cup. Around $100 billion is expected to be spent on infrastructure.
Some major players behind the massive infrastructural projects, such as Lusail City, say that the treatment of the labor force is not under direct purview but is controlled and supervised by the contractor. The British company CH2M, recently appointed the official management consultant for the Lusail City project, stressed their “zero tolerance policy’ for the use of forced labor and human trafficking.
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