Revealed: 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar as it gears up for World Cup

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it received the appropriate to host the World Cup 10 years in the past, the Guardian can reveal.

The findings, compiled from authorities sources, imply a mean of 12 migrant workers from these 5 south Asian nations have died every week because the night time in December 2010 when the streets of Doha have been stuffed with ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory.

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka revealed there have been 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the interval 2011–2020. Separately, knowledge from Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar reported an extra 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020.

The complete loss of life toll is considerably larger, as these figures don’t embrace deaths from various nations which ship massive numbers of workers to Qatar, together with the Philippines and Kenya. Deaths that occurred in the ultimate months of 2020 are additionally not included.

In the previous 10 years, Qatar has launched into an unprecedented constructing programme, largely in preparation for the soccer event in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of main initiatives have been accomplished or are beneath means, together with a brand new airport, roads, public transport programs, lodges and a brand new metropolis, which can host the World Cup closing.

While loss of life data usually are not categorised by occupation or place of job, it is probably going many workers who have died have been employed on these World Cup infrastructure initiatives, says Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights in the Gulf. “A really vital proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 have been solely in the nation as a result of Qatar received the appropriate to host the World Cup,” he stated.

There have been 37 deaths amongst workers immediately linked to development of World Cup stadiums, of which 34 are labeled as “non-work associated” by the occasion’s organising committee. Experts have questioned using the time period as a result of in some circumstances it has been used to explain deaths which have occurred on the job, together with various workers who have collapsed and died on stadium development websites.

The findings expose Qatar’s failure to guard its 2 million-strong migrant workforce, and even examine the causes of the apparently excessive fee of loss of life among the many largely younger workers.

Behind the statistics lie numerous tales of devastated households who have been left with out their important breadwinner, struggling to realize compensation and confused concerning the circumstances of their beloved one’s loss of life.

Ghal Singh Rai from Nepal paid practically £1,000 in recruitment charges for his job as a cleaner in a camp for workers constructing the Education City World Cup stadium. Within every week of arriving, he killed himself.

Another employee, Mohammad Shahid Miah, from Bangladesh, was electrocuted in his employee lodging after water got here into contact with uncovered electrical energy cables.

In India, the household of Madhu Bollapally have by no means understood how the wholesome 43-year old died of “pure causes” whereas working in Qatar. His physique was discovered mendacity on his dorm room ground.

Qatar’s grim loss of life toll is revealed in lengthy spreadsheets of official knowledge itemizing the causes of loss of life: a number of blunt accidents because of a fall from height; asphyxia because of hanging; undetermined explanation for loss of life because of decomposition.

But among the many causes, the commonest by far is so-called “pure deaths”, usually attributed to acute coronary heart or respiratory failure.

Based on the information obtained by the Guardian, 69% of deaths amongst Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are categorised as pure. Among Indians alone, the determine is 80%.

The Guardian has previously reported that such classifications, that are often made with out an post-mortem, usually fail to offer a reliable medical clarification for the underlying trigger of those deaths.

In 2019 it discovered that Qatar’s intense summer heat is more likely to be a big issue in many employee deaths. The Guardian’s findings have been supported by analysis commissioned by the UN’s International Labour Organization which revealed that for no less than 4 months of the yr workers confronted significant heat stress when working outdoors.

A report from Qatar authorities’s personal attorneys in 2014 advisable that it fee a examine into the deaths of migrant workers from cardiac arrest, and amend the regulation to “enable for autopsies … in all circumstances of sudden or sudden loss of life”. The authorities has executed neither.

Qatar continues to “drag its toes on this important and pressing concern in obvious disregard for workers’ lives”, stated Hiba Zayadin, Gulf researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We have referred to as on Qatar to amend its regulation on autopsies to require forensic investigations into all sudden or unexplained deaths, and move laws to require that each one loss of life certificates embrace reference to a medically significant explanation for loss of life,” she stated.

The Qatar authorities says that the variety of deaths – which it doesn’t dispute – is proportionate to the dimensions of the migrant workforce and that the figures embrace white-collar workers who have died naturally after residing in Qatar for a few years.

“The mortality fee amongst these communities is inside the anticipated vary for the dimensions and demographics of the inhabitants. However, each misplaced life is a tragedy, and no effort is spared in making an attempt to forestall each loss of life in our nation,” the Qatari authorities stated in an announcement by a spokesperson.

The official added that each one residents and international nationals have entry to free first-class healthcare, and that there was a gradual decline in the mortality fee amongst “visitor workers” over the previous decade because of well being and security reforms to the labour system.

Other vital causes of deaths amongst Indians, Nepalis and Bangladeshis are highway accidents (12%), office accidents (7%) and suicide (7%).

Covid-related deaths, which have remained extraordinarily low in Qatar, have not considerably affected the figures, with simply over 250 fatalities amongst all nationalities.

The Guardian’s analysis has additionally highlighted the shortage of transparency, rigour and element in recording deaths in Qatar. Embassies in Doha and governments in labour-sending nations are reluctant to share the information, presumably for political causes. Where statistics have been offered, there are inconsistencies between the figures held by totally different authorities businesses, and there’s no customary format for recording the causes of loss of life. One south-Asian embassy stated they may not share knowledge on the causes of loss of life as a result of they have been solely recorded by hand in a pocket book.

“There is an actual lack of readability and transparency surrounding these deaths,” stated May Romanos, Gulf researcher for Amnesty International. “There is a necessity for Qatar to strengthen its occupational well being and security requirements.”

The committee organising the World Cup in Qatar, when requested concerning the deaths on stadium initiatives, stated: “We deeply remorse all of those tragedies and investigated every incident to make sure classes have been discovered. We have at all times maintained transparency round this concern and dispute inaccurate claims across the variety of workers who have died on our initiatives.”

In an announcement, a spokesperson for Fifa, soccer’s world governing physique, stated it is totally dedicated to defending the rights of workers on Fifa initiatives. “With the very stringent well being and security measures on web site … the frequency of accidents on Fifa World Cup development websites has been low when in comparison with different main development initiatives world wide,” they stated, with out offering proof.

The publish Revealed: 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar as it gears up for World Cup appeared first on The Guardian.

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