Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - Page 6 News List

India says 500 workers died in Qatar

DEADLY JOBS:Figures from the Indian embassy will put more pressure on Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup has spurred a massive building boom

The Guardian

There are an estimated 1.2 million migrant workers in Qatar. Those from India make up 22 percent of the total, with a similar proportion from Pakistan. About 16 percent are from Nepal, 13 percent from Iran, 11 percent from the Philippines, 8 percent from Egypt and 8 percent from Sri Lanka.

The Qatar World Cup organizers believe that by holding their own contractors to higher standards, they can create momentum for change, and that improved rights for workers could be one legacy benefit of hosting the tournament.

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is stepping up efforts to hold contractors to existing labor laws, sanctioning 2,000 companies last year and a further 500 last month alone.

Law firm DLA Piper has been engaged to prepare a report on all issues surrounding Qatar’s use of migrant labor, which is expected to be published next month.

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY

Amnesty’s James Lynch, who wrote last year’s report, called on the Qatari and Indian authorities to provide more details on the circumstances of the deaths.

“This issue is not restricted to one country of origin,” Lynch said. “It is critical that the Qatari government works urgently with the governments of migrant workers’ countries of origin to investigate the main causes of migrant workers’ deaths and develops a transparent plan to address these, particularly where deaths relate to industrial accidents, work conditions and access to healthcare.”

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