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Sat 22 Feb 2014 02:32 AM

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Amnesty urges India to act to address Qatar labour abuses

Human rights group calls on India to 'work urgently' with Qatari officials after worker death toll revealed

Amnesty urges India to act to address Qatar labour abuses

Human rights group Amnesty International has called on India to "work urgently" with the Qatari government to address "serious labour abuses" experienced by Indian migrant workers in the Gulf state.

The group also urged India to give "more transparent information" about the deaths of Indian workers in Qatar, the host nation for the 2022 World Cup.

India revealed on Monday that 455 Indians had died in 2012 and 2013, adding that the "overwhelming number" of deaths were due to natural causes.

While Indian and Qatari officials claimed there was nothing abnormal about the death rate, Amnesty International India said in a statement that the Government of India should provide more detailed information about the circumstances of deaths in Qatar and other GCC countries.

Nikhil Eapen, spokesperson, Amnesty International India, said: “Instead of simply saying that such deaths are normal, the Indian government should provide clearer and more transparent information because at this point, we are unable to say how these deaths took place - whether on construction worksites, in labour camps, road accidents or as a result of natural causes.”

Eapen added: “What we need to know is who these people were - how old they were and what work they were doing - and how they died.

“The Indian government should also work urgently with the Qatari government and other governments across the Gulf to address the serious labour abuses experienced by Indian migrant workers.

"That will require tackling abuses in the recruitment phase in India, as well as the countries of destination.” 

Amnesty International India said it is calling on the Indian government to engage closely with the government of Qatar and other Gulf states to enforce and strengthen bilateral agreements, administrative and legal procedures to protect the human rights of Indian migrant workers. 

In November 2013, Amnesty International released a report on human rights abuses in Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The report revealed widespread and routine abuse of migrant workers - in some cases amounting to forced labour.

Amnesty said abuses included non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and shocking standards of accommodation.

Researchers also met dozens of construction workers who were prevented from leaving the country for many months by their employers – leaving them trapped in Qatar with no way out.

Amnesty International has called on Qatar to carry out an urgent cross-government review of migrant workers' health conditions, including an investigation into the underlying causes of deaths among migrant workers.

It said the government should urgently develop a transparent plan to address these causes, particularly where they relate to industrial accidents, work conditions and access to healthcare.

procan 5 years ago

The lives of these poor workers mean very little to Qatar and India it seems the only ones that really care are Westeners who are determined to move the 2022 World cup from this tiny baron sand country.

Kumar G 5 years ago

Why is Amnesty crying foul now when labour abuses of subcontinent nationals have been going on for the past many decades and are still being committed now by all the GCC countries to a lesser or greater extent?
Is Amnesty International/India trying to get their own inadequacies covered by redirecting attention away from their own misgivings?

DNS 5 years ago

What are you talking about? Amnesty International has always been working for the cause of those ill-treated and abused.

Just that over the past few years, internet technology has improved a lot and also more people are coming forward to talk about their experiences.

tfg 5 years ago

As if Indians are living any better in India!
I would consider amnesty report as credible if it forced India to clean up its own labor abuses in its own back yard with the same rigorous reporting as it does on the GCC! If you want shocking standards of accommodation, check out Mumbai's 54% slums. Or how people regularly defecate in the open. Or check out India's child laborers. Of the 30 million real global slaves, half live in India, trafficked into brothers, forced into manual labor, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude. People are still being born into hereditary slavery in parts of West Africa and South Asia. India and China head these lists. with forced marriages, exploitative work practice, sex selective abortions. It seems the more humans you have somewhere, the less human you treat them.

Human sense. 5 years ago

tfg,
I do not want to be biased on the issue, what you state here is a fact maybe, BUT, It still does not give you the right to do similar atrocities.
If you do have God given wealth and a sound mind you should not do the same, infact you should do better to a God created human being and not take advantage over an already down trodden society, after all if they needed the same treatment in harsher climates, they could have remained where they were.
Hope some sensibility will come out of this.

Joseph George 5 years ago

@tfg..The article is about the treatment of migrant labor and alleged labor abuses experienced by Indian migrant labor in the State of Qatar.The article is not about the abysmal conditions in which the poor in Indian cities live.You seems to argue that since the poor and marginalized in some country lives a particularly hard life in their country in abysmal conditions, they or any body else on their behalf should not complain or raise it as an issue, when they are abused or exploited as migrant labor in another country.You are in a way arguing for the right to abuse and exploit people, provided they are marginalized, abused and are poor in their countries!

Andy 5 years ago

Tfg you are totally correct well done great answer !

tfg 5 years ago

Don't twist my words. My argument is that Indians are far worst off and are treated way worst by fellow Indians in India than they are treated in the GCC. Indians use emotions rather than reason to arrive at their judgements. That Indians are irrational is shown in the pitiful conditions of living in India. Indians have reached a paranoid victimhood status and can't seperate fact from reality. Fact: You are far more worst off living in India than you would be in the GCC. Indians need to clean up their shameful acts before daring to lecture the GCC to clean up theirs!

F Backer 5 years ago

tfg,

if one is poor does not mean he should be treated harshly as a guest worker/employee.

God bless to change arrogance in humanity

Laeeq 5 years ago

Dear tfg, yes India's back yard is dirty and pathetic, poor people move to your front yard with a hope of better life, don't you mind if your front yard is turning as grave yard?. A hungry stomach can only be emotional than rational. Host has a bigger responsibility and accountability. Let them die among their friends and family why are you allowing them into your front yard.