HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government today recalled Nepal’s ambassador to Qatar Maya Kumari Sharma for publicly speaking about slave-like conditions in Qatar, but recent series of reports by The Guardian reveal a ghastly situation in the Gulf country for Nepali labourers.
In an interview to BBC’s Shajha Sawal, Ambassador Sharma had termed Qatar “an open jail” for Nepali workers. Qatar government took serious exception to the remarks, which led to her recall by the Cabinet today.
Though she was charged for “undiplomatic conduct”, the British newspaper paints a picture of severe exploitation of Nepali workers in the Gulf country, calling it “modern-day slavery”.
The Guardian reported that between June 4 and August 8, some 44 Nepalis died in Qatar, most from heart attack, while constructing the stadium for 2022 World Cup.
On being asked why so many Nepalis have died of heart attack while constructing the stadium, Lusail Real Estate Development company responded to The Guardian : “This question would be better suited for the relevant health authorities or the government of Nepal.”
Similarly on being asked how many Nepalis had died, the company cited the whole Article 48 of Qatar Labour Law, No.14 of 2004 without giving the real answer.
The Guardian cites the International Trade Union Congress as saying that more than 4,000 migrant workers will die while constructing the World Cup stadium. “Workers described forced labour in 50C heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and the denial of free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported. Thirty Nepali construction workers had taken refuge in the their country’s embassy and subsequently left the country, after they claimed they received no pay,” The Guardian reported on its website today.
Minister for Information Madhav Paudel said the Cabinet took the decision after she refused to put in her papers.