Qatar kicks out Nepalese envoy amid worker deaths report

Maya Kumari Sharma sacked; said to help The Guardian reveal 44 Nepali worker deaths in Qatar summer heat

Window washers from Nepal return to ground after working on the curved facade of the Tornado Tower on October 23, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Window washers from Nepal return to ground after working on the curved facade of the Tornado Tower on October 23, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The Nepalese government has recalled its ambassador to Qatar following a request from the Gulf state after several controversial comments relating to Nepalese foreign workers.

Maya Kumari Sharma has come under fire from Qatari authorities since she described Qatar as “an open jail” during an interview on the BBC in March.

Her sacking on Wednesday coincided with a report in The Guardian newspaper that said 44 Nepalese labourers had died during the summer while working on Qatar developments.

The report only detailed the deaths and torture claims of Nepalese workers, who make up a portion of the total foreign labourers in the country, and referred to numerous pieces of information received from the Nepalese embassy in Qatar.

The report received widespread media coverage internationally and was another embarrassing story for a country often criticised for “slavery” of foreign workers.

The Qatari ambassador to Nepal demanded Sharma be recalled in a formal letter sent to Nepalese Foreign Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire on Wednesday, Nepalese media reported.

The ambassador said Sharma’s “controversial activities and remarks” could affect the bilateral ties.

The decision to recall her was made by the Cabinet on Thursday.

The Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry had previously sought a clarification of her comment describing Qatar as an open jail. She had clarified her remark and apologised.

Migrant supports have claimed that Nepal, which receives a significant boost to its economy through remittances from foreign workers, is unwilling to act on “mounting” evidence that its citizens are being mistreated overseas. 

In March, the International Labour Organisation said Nepalese officials “were complicit in the trafficking for forced labour of its migrant workers.”

However, not all migrants in Qatar support Sharma.

According to The Quartz magazine, when a Nepalese worker criticised the embassy’s lack of consular support for Nepali migrants in May, she asked Qatari authorities to have him deported, attracting criticism from international human rights groups.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Non-Muslim

@ N.S. (Friday, 27 September 2013 7:37 PM)
I consider the health of several hundred athletes and officials to be superior to "deprive any country of the right to host important sports events". And this has absolutely nothing to do with being racist (a word very often used in Europe nowadays by foreign minorities who believe in being privileged to force their archaic home rules onto European natives and their laws and culture!

Posted by: N.S.

Yes, but then it's a different subject all together.

Posted by: Non-Muslim

Yet another proof that FIFA now MUST act on the 2022 WC.
IMHO, FIFA shall now definitely consider to de-award the WC from Qatar, and re-award it to a "decent" country (my favourite still being the Aussies).
@ FIFA: have the guts, and do it NOW, and it will save you ever worse PR and comments over the next nine years! No "normal" soccer fan will dare to travel to Qatar anyhow! So, Blatter, just do it NOW!

Posted by: Non-Muslim

@ Lee
Posted Saturday, 28 September 2013 1:57 AM - Sweden
You lost that bet!

Posted by: Vicky

I haven't seen any report which stated that the envoy was 'kicked out'. AB certainly has some ?exclusive? style and sources for the report. The 'recall' of diplomats keeps happening all over the world with wide ranging political and cosmetic nuances. AB has exercised very poor choice of terminology, most probably due to Nepal being a poor Asian country.

Posted by: Lee

Dear Non-Muslim, I bet you've said the same thing when South Africa got the world cup.

Posted by: Saurav Malhotra

Qatar didn't kick out the ambassador. Nepal recalled its diplomat. Improve your English.

Posted by: harish

even though nepal is a poor country the editor should have deleted the word kicked out which is very harsh,unpolite,undiplomatic and wrong word to report about the call back by the nepelese govt.I think the editor normally edits the harsh words for any goverments of the gulf countries which again proves the mentality of the newspaper s which do not publish any remarks or negative views of the expatraites which provide the bread and butter and readership of this publications.please at least respect the diplomats views as they do not work for any sponsor so are they are not expected to fear for their lives.

Posted by: Chris

This is a huge issue in the Gulf. Very happy to see that the World Cup is putting a bit of a spotlight on it. Hopefully some good will come of it for the sake of everyone in the region.

Posted by: M. Siddique

Qatar should not bury its hand in Sands. Almost every expatriate in Qatar talks about its draconian Systems...where the employees have to get the Sponsors permission to leave the country even in case of emergency and quite often the Sponsor may not be available and they could not attend the emergency back home such as Sudden Death of relatives etc. It is high time Qatar learns from Sheikh Mohamed and Dubai as to how to treat foreigners as long as they are contributing to the nation.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi shake-up strengthens king's powerful son

Saudi shake-up strengthens king's powerful son

Royal decrees saw a number of allies of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed...

Filipino expats in Gulf look to hardman Duterte

Filipino expats in Gulf look to hardman Duterte

President on tour of region as more than a million Filipino workers...

Qatar’s love affair with the UK is at stake

Qatar’s love affair with the UK is at stake

GCC country plans to increase its investment in the United Kingdom...

Most Discussed