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An earful to Qatar over climate meet

  World trade unions oppose

RAMESH PRASAD BHUSHAL

DURBAN: As the Conference of Parties meeting of the UN climate change body UNFCCC decided here to organise next year's climate summit in Qatar — the Arabian country which is one of the major destinations for Nepali workers too — trade unions all around the world voiced against the decision and demanded to scrap it‚ saying Qatar is 'a notorious country in violating the workers' rights'.

"Qatar has an appalling record of ignoring workers’ rights‚ especially migrants‚ and the decision to hold next year’s climate summit there sends a wrong message and risks delaying vital action. Either Qatar must move urgently to implement labour laws in line with international standards‚ or another host country should be found for the meeting‚” said Sharan Burrow‚ General Secretary‚ International Trade Union Confederation at the climate summit in Durban‚ where 192 countries have gathered. Trade unions in Nepal are also members of ITUC.

Qatar has been frequently reported for violation of workers' rights. More than 800 Nepali migrant workers lost their lives last year while working in Malaysia‚ Qatar‚ Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and 192 were reported dead in Qatar alone. As of 2010‚ about 425‚000 Nepali workers have been to Qatar and their condition is

reported to be worse due to low payment and lack of labour rights.

The UN Climate change annual conference of the countries is rotated among five UN regional groups‚ with the African Group this year hosting COP-17 in Durban.

It’s Asia’s turn to host the climate summit next year and Qatar and South Korea were vying. The contest today lasted nearly two years before Qatar was awarded to organise next year’s climate summit.

However‚ United Nations Climate Change body UNFCCC has yet to respond to the dislike shown by the trade unions.

Congratulating Qatar for taking the responsibility of hosting the event‚ Chief of UN climate change body UNFCCC Christiana Figures said‚ "Qatar‚ as one of the world's main energy exporters‚ expressed its eagerness in Durban to secure progress in the UN climate change negotiations‚ and it is a leader in its own ways and we hope that Qatar will put in efforts to help to put the world on a more climate-safe path."

While inaugurating the climate change summit yesterday‚ the South African president Jacob Zuma had urged all to work together for saving tomorrow.

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