By Courtney Trenwith
Sheikh Tamim is likely to face tough questions on the rights of foreign workers during his first official visit to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan this week
Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is likely to face tough questions about the condition of foreign workers in the Gulf state during a trip to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka this week.
Citizens from the south Asian nations make up about one-third of Qatar’s total population and the low-paid workers are relied on to fuel the booming country’s construction sector.
Qatar is broadly criticised by international and local human rights groups and unions for treatment of the workers, including forcing them to relinquish their passports, banning them from travel without their employer’s permission, low wages, poor living conditions within workers accommodation and unsafe working conditions.
At least 277 Indians died in Qatar last year, following 241 in 2013 and 237 in 2012, according to the Indian embassy in Doha. There are at least 500,000 Indians living in the country, according to Doha News.
There also were more than 3850 complaints relating to labour and welfare issues recorded during 2014.
The issues have been highlighted as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.
The remittances from the workers are often essential to support families back home, while contributing to the local economies.
The Emir is due to visit the three countries this week. It would be his first official state visit to any of them.
He also is expected to discuss energy during meetings in Pakistan, Doha News said.
The two nations have reportedly finalised a 15-year, multibillion-dollar deal to ship LNG to Karachi.