44 Qatar labourers killed by summer heat - report

Investigation by UK newspaper claims 44 workers have died during summer; thousands more suffer abuse

(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Thousands of Nepalese migrant labourers are suffering appalling abuses at work with almost one a day dying during the summer months, an investigation by a UK newspaper has claimed.

The Guardian investigation said it found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, as Qatar's construction industry gears up for the 2022 World Cup.

According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between June 4 and August 8, the paper said.

More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents, it added.

Authorities in Qatar told the paper that it would investigate the findings and would not tolerate breaches of labour law.

The investigation also found evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project while some Nepalese men alleged that they have not been paid for months.

The paper also claimed some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards.

Some labourers also said they have been denied access to free drinking water while about 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape their employers.

In response to the findings of the investigation, Lusail Real Estate Development Company said it would not tolerate breaches of labour or health and safety law.

"We continually instruct our contractors and their subcontractors of our expectations and their contractual obligations to both us and individual employees," the company said in a statement published by the paper.

"We take these allegations very seriously and have referred the allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Based on this investigation, we will take appropriate action against any individual or company who has found to have broken the law or contract with us."

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee added that it was "deeply concerned" with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City's construction site.

"We have been informed that the relevant government authorities are conducting an investigation into the allegations," it told the paper.

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Posted by: shaheen

The Guardian article seems to have caused a stir in the UK it was highlighted on the national news channels. The title of the article was, Revealed Qatar's World Cup "Slaves". It mentioned appalling labour abuse, modern day slavery, heart attacks and work place deaths. Retained salaries to prevent workers running away, with holding passports. And inhuman living conditions of 12 men in a room. The online comments section at the last count had 1540 comments which were mostly written by disgusted readers. Some calling for the games to be boycotted, others wondering how a country with such human rights abuses could be awarded the World Cup. The article has caused alot of damage to the reputation of Qatar. Looks like Sepp Blatter didn't prepare a feasibility study, or maybe some free wining and dining may have blurred his judgement.He should do the honourable thing and resign.

Posted by: shaheen

Previously I commented that Sepp Blatter should resign due to his decision to award the FIFA WC to Qatar he had not considered well that the temperature in Qatar reaches 50+ in the summer. Following this mistake there are plans to change the WC to winter 2020, which is causing problems for the football schedule of other countries. Last night FIFA issued a statement they were totally shocked about the treatment of migrant labour workers in Qatar. If Sepp Blatter had researched well he would have been aware of the plight of indentured migrant labourers in Qatar. A Qatari representative came on TV acting totally shocked that such abuses occured in Qatar. He said that the labourers in the report were not those being used in the construction for the Qatar 2020 games. So what, they are still humans. And that all efforts would be made to treat the workers involved in the 2020 construction fairly. Poor damage control.Ha ha what about the ones NOT involved in the 2020 games, same old torture?

Posted by: Doug

What a bizarre conclusion.

Qatari companies are exposed as abusing their workers...yet you complain that ARTICLE is what has damaged the reputation of Qatar....and then call for Sepp Blatter to resign?

Shouldn't you really be asking for the heads of the construction firms involved, and those allow these abuses to happen, to resign instead?

Posted by: Nick

Negligence towards labours happens across the entire Middle East, i'm sure you would see a similar trend if surveys of the same were taken in other gulf states over the summer months. To ridicule Qatar and not other gulf states is hypercritical, in my opinion.

Posted by: Patriotic Expat ;)

I cant understand why people are attacking Qatar, or Qatari's - the laws have been put in place to protect everyone, it is the construction companies that are breaking the laws.... not Qatar or the Qatari's

Yes, it is up to the government organisations to police these laws but they shouldn't have to is the companies werent just trying to make a quick buck.

It is not Qatar that has slavery, it is the slave driving construction companies.

Posted by: Blame the Sponsors

Who sponsors the construction companies? The Qataris! Time for them to accept responsibility for once. If the construction companies are found guilty of abuse and negligence, then the Qatari sponsor also has to be found guilty and punished accordingly.

Posted by: Paul

Who is in charge of Qatar, its policies and its enforcement?!!

Posted by: Paul

Qatar gets away with this because there is extremely poverty. The day that these people will be able to live a dignifying life in their countries, Qatar will have to do something about it, or its ceases to exist!
Being first world, it?s not about the material you can display, it?s about how you treat and respect the most unfortunate human beings!

Posted by: Paul

Why on earth the Qatari Government is reacting to The Guardian's investigation, as if this is something unusual and new!
Evrybody knows that this is going on systematicaly for decades!

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