World news – In 10 years, 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar



February 23, 2021 3:49:16 PM

| Updated:

February 23, 2021 5:02:02 p.m.

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it received the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.

The results, compiled from government sources, mean that since the night in December 2010 when the streets of Doha were full of ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory, an average of 12 migrant workers from these five South Asian countries have died, reports, citing The Guardian.

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka showed that 5,927 migrant workers died between 2011-2020. Separately, data from the Pakistani embassy in Qatar reported an additional 824 deaths of Pakistani workers between 2010 and 2020.

The total death toll is significantly higher as these figures do not include deaths from a number of countries that represent a large number of Posting workers to Qatar, including the Philippines and Kenya. Deaths in the final months of 2020 are also not included, reports the British newspaper.

Over the past 10 years, Qatar has launched an unprecedented construction program, mainly in preparation for the football tournament in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of Major projects completed or ongoing, including a new airport, roads, public transportation, hotels, and a new city to host the World Cup final.

While death certificates are not categorized by occupation or location, many deceased are likely to be workers employed on these World Cup infrastructure projects, says Nick McGeehan, director of FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specializing in labor rights in the Gulf. « A very significant part of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar was given the right to host the World Cup, » he said.

For workers who are directly related to the construction of World Cup stadiums, gave There were 37 deaths, 34 of which were classified as « non-work » by the event organizing committee. Experts have questioned the use of the term as it has been used in some cases to describe deaths in the workplace, including a number of workers who have collapsed and died on stadium construction sites.

The results show that Qatar does failed to protect its 2 million migrant workers or even to investigate the causes of the apparently high death rate among the largely young workers.

Behind the statistics are countless stories of destroyed families left without their main breadwinner to seek compensation and are confused about the circumstances surrounding the death of their loved ones.

Ghal Singh Rai from Nepal paid nearly £ 1,000 in recruitment fees for his work as a cleaner in a warehouse for workers building the Education City World Cup stadium. He killed himself within a week of arriving.

Another worker, Mohammad Shahid Miah from Bangladesh, was electrocuted in his workers’ accommodation after water came into contact with exposed power cables.

In India Madhu Bollapally’s family never understood how the healthy 43-year-old died of « natural causes » while working in Qatar. His body was found on the floor of his dormitory.

The dismal death toll in Qatar is revealed in long tables of official data listing the causes of death: multiple blunt injuries from falling from a height; Suffocation from hanging; undetermined cause of death from decomposition.

However, by far the most common cause are so-called « natural deaths », which are often due to acute heart or respiratory failure.

Based on the data obtained from the Guardian, 69 percent of deaths are Indian, Nepalese and Bangladeshi workers classified as natural. Among the Indians alone, it is 80 percent.

The Guardian previously reported that such classifications, which are normally done without an autopsy, often fail to provide a legitimate medical explanation for the underlying cause of these deaths.

In the year In 2019, Qatar’s intense summer heat emerged likely to be a major contributor to many worker deaths. The Guardian’s findings were commissioned through research commissioned by the United Nations International Labor Organization. They found that workers were exposed to significant heat stress while working outdoors for at least four months a year.

A 2014 report by Qatar government lawyers recommended a study of migrant worker deaths as a result order a cardiac arrest and amend the law to « allow autopsies … in all cases of unexpected or sudden death. » The government has failed to do either.

Qatar « continues to advocate this critical and urgent problem when the lives of workers are blatantly disregarded, » said Hiba Zayadin, golf researcher at Human Rights Watch. « We have urged Qatar to amend its autopsy law to require forensic investigation of all sudden or unexplained deaths and to pass laws requiring all death certificates to contain evidence of a medically significant cause of death, » she said. The government of Qatar says the number of deaths – which it does not deny – is proportional to the size of the migrant workers and that the numbers include employees who died naturally after many years in Qatar.

“The death rate among these communities is in the expected range for the size and demographics of the population. However, every life lost is a tragedy and every effort is spared to prevent every death in our country, « the Qatari government said in a statement from a spokesman.

The official added that all citizens and foreigners have access to have free first-class health care and that the death rate among « guest workers » has steadily declined over the past decade due to health and safety reforms of the work system.

Other significant causes of death for Indians, Nepalis and Bangladeshis are road accidents (12 percent), work accidents (7 percent) and suicide (7 percent).

COVID-related deaths, which have remained extremely low in Qatar, did not materially affect the numbers, with just over 250 deaths among all nationalities.

The research The Guardian has also highlighted the lack of transparency, accuracy and detail in recording deaths in Qatar. Embassies in Doha and governments in labor-sending countries are reluctant to share the data, possibly for political reasons. When statistics have been provided, there are inconsistencies between the numbers of different government agencies and there is no standard format for recording causes of death. A South Asian embassy said it could not share data on the causes of death as it was only hand-recorded in a notebook. « There is a real lack of clarity and transparency regarding these deaths, » said May Romanos, Golf researcher at Amnesty International. « Qatar needs to strengthen its health and safety standards. » Commenting on the deaths in stadium projects, the committee organizing the World Cup in Qatar said: « We deeply regret all of these tragedies and have investigated each incident to ensure that lessons are learned. We have always maintained transparency on this issue and denied inaccurate claims about the number of workers who died on our projects. “

In a statement, a spokesman for Fifa, the world association of football, stated that it was fully committed to protecting workers’ rights in Fifa projects. « With the very strict health and safety measures in place … the incidence of accidents on Fifa World Cup construction sites was low compared to other major construction projects around the world, » they said without providing evidence.

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Editor: Shah Husain Imam

Published by Syed Manzur Elahi for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th.
Floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box: 2526 Dhaka-1000 and printed by him from City Publishing
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