Revealed: 6,500 migrant staff have died in Qatar because it gears up for World Cup | International improvement

Revealed: 6,500 migrant staff have died in Qatar because it gears up for World Cup | International improvement

Greater than 6,500 migrant staff from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar because it received the suitable 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 staff from these 5 south Asian nations have died every week for the reason that night time in December 2010 when the streets of Doha had been stuffed with ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory.

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

Mohammad Shahid Miah, 29, from Bangladesh, died when floodwater in his room got here into contact with an uncovered electrical cable, electrocuting him.

The entire loss of life toll is considerably increased, as these figures don’t embody deaths from quite a few international locations which ship massive numbers of staff to Qatar, together with the Philippines and Kenya. Deaths that occurred within the ultimate months of 2020 are additionally not included.

Prior to now 10 years, Qatar has launched into an unprecedented constructing programme, largely in preparation for the soccer match in 2022. Along with seven new stadiums, dozens of main tasks have been accomplished or are below manner, together with a brand new airport, roads, public transport programs, motels and a brand new metropolis, which can host the World Cup ultimate.

Whereas loss of life information should not categorised by occupation or place of job, it’s doubtless many staff who’ve died had been employed on these World Cup infrastructure tasks, says Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Tasks, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights within the Gulf. “A really important proportion of the migrant staff who’ve died since 2011 had been solely within the nation as a result of Qatar received the suitable to host the World Cup,” he stated.

A 12 months on from the beginning of the world’s greatest well being disaster, we now face a human rights pandemic. Covid-19 has uncovered the inequalities and fragilities of well being and political programs and allowed authoritarian regimes to impose drastic curbs on rights and freedoms, utilizing the virus as a pretext for proscribing free speech and stifling dissent.

Rights and Freedom is a brand new Guardian reporting sequence to analyze and expose human rights abuses at this essential time, and elevate the voices of individuals on the frontlines, preventing again for themselves and their communities.

There have been 37 deaths amongst staff straight linked to development of World Cup stadiums, of which 34 are labeled as “non-work associated” by the occasion’s organising committee. Specialists have questioned the usage of 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 quite a few staff who’ve 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 charge of loss of life among the many largely younger staff.

World Cup staff – variety of deaths – revised

Behind the statistics lie numerous tales of devastated households who’ve been left with out their essential breadwinner, struggling to achieve compensation and confused concerning the circumstances of their cherished 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 staff constructing the Training Metropolis World Cup stadium. Inside per week of arriving, he killed himself.

One other 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 outdated died of “pure causes” whereas working in Qatar. His physique was discovered mendacity on his dorm room ground.

Madhu Bollapally

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 top; asphyxia because of hanging; undetermined reason behind loss of life because of decomposition.

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

Based mostly on the info obtained by the Guardian, 69% of deaths amongst Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi staff are categorised as pure. Amongst Indians alone, the determine is 80%.

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

In 2019 it discovered that Qatar’s intense summer season warmth is more likely to be a big consider many employee deaths. The Guardian’s findings had been supported by analysis commissioned by the UN’s Worldwide Labour Group which revealed that for at the very least 4 months of the 12 months staff confronted important warmth stress when working exterior.

Revealed: 6,500 migrant staff have died in Qatar because it gears up for World Cup | International improvement

Labourers from Nepal put up scaffolding for the launch of the World Cup emblem. They begin work lengthy earlier than dawn to keep away from the warmth. {Photograph}: Pete Pattisson

A report from Qatar authorities’s personal legal professionals in 2014 really useful that it fee a research into the deaths of migrant staff from cardiac arrest, and amend the regulation to “permit for autopsies … in all circumstances of sudden or sudden loss of life”. The federal government has performed neither.

Qatar continues to “drag its toes on this essential and pressing challenge in obvious disregard for staff’ lives”, stated Hiba Zayadin, Gulf researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We’ve got 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 every one loss of life certificates embody reference to a medically significant reason behind loss of life,” she stated.

Mohammad Shahid Miah

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 embody white-collar staff who’ve died naturally after residing in Qatar for a few years.

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

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

World Cup staff – causes of loss of life – newest knowledge

Different important 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, haven’t considerably affected the figures, with simply over 250 fatalities amongst all nationalities.

Ghal Singh Rai

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 international locations are reluctant to share the info, probably for political causes. The place statistics have been supplied, there are inconsistencies between the figures held by totally different authorities companies, 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 had been solely recorded by hand in a pocket book.

“There’s a actual lack of readability and transparency surrounding these deaths,” stated Could Romanos, Gulf researcher for Amnesty Worldwide. “There’s a want 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 tasks, stated: “We deeply remorse all of those tragedies and investigated every incident to make sure classes had been discovered. We’ve got at all times maintained transparency round this challenge and dispute inaccurate claims across the variety of staff who’ve died on our tasks.”

In an announcement, a spokesperson for Fifa, soccer’s world governing physique, stated it’s absolutely dedicated to defending the rights of staff on Fifa tasks. “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 tasks around the globe,” they stated, with out offering proof.

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