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)
By Staff writer
Wed 25 Sep 2013 10:16 PM

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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