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Tue 1 Oct 2013 09:47 AM

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Nepali official denies labour abuses in Qatar

UK newspaper reported lethal labour conditions for migrants

Nepali official denies labour abuses in Qatar
There are 340,679 Nepalis in Qatar, according to figures distributed at the news conference, attributed to the Nepali Embassy.

Officials from Nepal and Qatar sought on Monday to play down a news report that Nepali labourers face deadly conditions on the Gulf state's building sites, holding a joint news conference to say the migrant workers were "safe and fully respected."

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that dozens of Nepali workers had died on Qatari building sites over the summer. Nepal recalled its ambassador from Qatar on Thursday after it emerged that she had called the country an "open jail" for Nepalis who suffer labour abuses.

"We deny all that is mentioned in these false reports, and ask the bodies that publish them not to use Nepali workers as a means to achieve their inappropriate targets and agendas," Mohammad Ramadan, employed by the Nepali government as a legal advisor for Nepali nationals, told the news conference.

"We also stress that all Nepali workers are safe and fully respected," said Ramadan.

There are 340,679 Nepalis in Qatar, according to figures distributed at the news conference, attributed to the Nepali Embassy. Most of them work in construction in the wealthy country that is preparing to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Citing Nepali embassy figures, Ramadan said 276 Nepalis died in Qatar last year, of which 20 percent were on work sites. The rest died of natural causes and in accidents not at the workplace, he said.

So far this year, 151 Nepalis have died, 10 percent were on building sites.

The Guardian, also citing Nepali Embassy documents, said at least 44 workers died between June 4 and August 8.

A spokesman for the newspaper said on Monday that it stands by its story that embassy documents show the deaths of at least 44 Nepalese workers during that time, and that more than half died "of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents."

Ali Al Marri, the chairman of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee, an official state body, told the news conference: "The numbers published by the media differ greatly from the actual numbers."

Qatar was awarded the World Cup three years ago and now has to complete the infrastructure needed to host the huge sporting event. The sport's governing body FIFA has said it was concerned about the reports of labour rights abuses.

For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Paul 6 years ago

Sadder than situation well reported by The Guardian and well known by all in the ground, is the attempt to cover it, just like those mentioned in this article.
Shame on them!

John 6 years ago

Guardian is 100% right. Labors and the majority of expats are drastically abused in Qatar. They are making an attempt to hide it and the y probably bribed the Nepali embassy officials just like they did to FIFA

RC AD 6 years ago

How Nepal Government can say that? How many of their inspector are here to study the situation of labor? Non of one! How come worker are safely and with fully respected? I am working in one of construction company since 2009 as Admin/HR almost everyday I saw how they hold workers rights. Even me I am forced to worked here. I am working here more than 10 hrs in a day with out any overtime or extra pay with very poor hospitality than think how about labors.

Qatari 6 years ago

You might be right!? Can you prove it. Can you also say the Guardian was bribed? Please review your statement, have a positive thinking and think good of others.

Qatari 6 years ago

The law gives you the right to complain, and report any irregularities with your employment contract, to Labour Department. Please use this right.

Ponzo 6 years ago

Actually, no they did not bribe the Nepal Embassy officials. However, the Nepal Ambassador who did speak out against abuse in this regard has been recalled to Nepal at the behest of the Qatar government.

doc 6 years ago

The guardian is sour that Qatar won hosting rights and the reporting style is naughty.

As for heart attacks, as a group, South Asians have a genetic abnormality putting them at a higher risk of heart attacks, more than 3 times higher than other ethnic groups combined, and many get heart failures despite living a healthy life style due to abnormally high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL.
There are tons of peer reviewed scientific research to back this up no matter if South Asians are living in South Asia, Middle East, Europe, or North America.