Are the Indians workers treated properly in Qatar?
As Qatar gears up for the World Cup 2022, its human rights record is under international scrutiny like never before. The working force and supervisors for the infrastructure projects comprise mainly of the migrant labour from south asian countries. There are an estimated 5 lakh Indians in Quatar making it the largest expatriate community which is nearly double that of the Qatari nationals. Indians make up about 26 % of the total population of Qatar.
An application was filed with the Indian embassy in Quatar under the Right to Information Act seeking the number of Indian who died in 2012 and 2013. The reply shows that there were 237 mortalities in 2012 and another 218 in 2013 up to December 5. The circumstances into the death were not explained in the reply which reveals an average of 2 migrant deaths every 3 days. Further, the Indian embassy refused to provide any copies of correspondence between the embassy and the Indian government regarding the treatment of its nationals in Qatar.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said the data showed an exceptionally high mortality rate while a human rights body of Qatar claimed that the death rate was "normal" given the size of the community. Nepalese embassy in Qatar too reported that 191 deaths had been registered in 2013, many of them from "unnatural" heart failure. This figure indicates an increasing trend compared with 169 Nepalese deaths in the year 2012.
Amidst criticism from human rights groups over the safety and working conditions of migrants working in Qatar, a set of guidelines has been prescribed by the government with the objective of protecting the rights of workers employed at the construction sites.