Please support my petition to the Government of Qatar in which I request the Government to provide and maintain good working conditions for all migrant laborers in Qatar. Also, to provide all the exit documents and held salaries to all the trapped migrant workers in the Embassy of Nepal, Qatar. This is a petition to the Qatari Ambassador to the USA. The following excerpt has been taken from the Guardian's investigation and report.
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. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, 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 labour 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 labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.
• 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.
"We'd like to leave, but the company won't let us," said one Nepalese migrant employed at Lusail City development, a $45bn (£28bn) city being built from scratch which will include the 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. "I'm angry about how this company is treating us, but we're helpless. I regret coming here, but what to do? We were compelled to come just to make a living, but we've had no luck."
The Guardian's 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.
"We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours' work and then no food all night," said Ram Kumar Mahara, 27. "When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of the labour camp I lived in and refused to pay me anything. I had to beg for food from other workers."
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 labour, 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."
The workers' plight makes a mockery of concerns for the 2022 footballers.
"Everyone is talking about the effect of Qatar's extreme heat on a few hundred footballers," said Umesh Upadhyaya, general secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions. "But they are ignoring the hardships, blood and sweat of thousands of migrant workers, who will be building the World Cup stadiums in shifts that can last eight times the length of a football match."
- Qatari Ambassador To USA
His Excellency Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi
We're writing to request the Government of Qatar to provide all exit documents to Nepalese workers trapped in Qatar (who want to return to Nepal) and provide humane conditions for the current Nepalese migrant workers.
Based on the investigation of various media sources it has come to international attention that dozens of Nepalese migrant laborers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses from their employers.
There are at least 30 Nepalese who sought refuge at the Nepalese embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment. The employers aren't providing them with the necessary exit documents to return to Nepal.
The report also states that they've 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.
There is growing international attention to this investigation, and those monitoring the developments fervently hope that due process will be followed, and that Qatar will uphold its international reputation of being a tolerant and welcoming country that respects human rights of migrant workers.
I hereby request your assistance in helping the trapped Nepalese worker's in the embassy to secure all the necessary exit documents so that they can safely return back home to Nepal. And to request the Government of Qatar to draft astringent laws to avoid any future abuses to migrant workers and promote healthy working conditions.
Thank you for your timely consideration on this matter.
Saurav Bhandari started this petition with a single signature, and now has 180 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.