DOHA: Qatar government authorities are investigating allegations in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that dozens of migrant Nepalese workers have died in recent weeks, the committee managing preparations for the 2022 World Cup said yesterday.
The Guardian report, published on Wednesday, said thousands of Nepalese workers were enduring labour abuses as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said in a statement it had been informed that government authorities were investigating the allegations.
“Like everyone viewing the video and images, and reading the accompanying texts, we are appalled by the findings presented in the Guardian’s report,” the committee said.
“The health, safety, well-being and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee and we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar.”
The World Cup organisers have promised to hold all contractors due to work on the construction of the actual stadiums to a new code of conduct.
Qatar was awarded the World Cup three years ago. The country is now building the infrastructure that would allow it to host the biggest sporting event in the world after the summer Olympic Games.
The world governing body FIFA said it was concerned about media reports highlighting labour rights’ abuses and conditions for construction workers in projects at the Lusail City construction site.
“FIFA will again get in contact with the Qatari Authorities and the matter will also be discussed at the Executive Committee Meeting under point FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on 3 and 4th October 2013 in Zurich,” it said.
Qatar’s 2022 committee said it was working with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as well as various ministries to address migrant labour issues.
Nepal recalls envoy:
Nepal yesterday recalled its ambassador to Qatar after she compared the country to an “open jail” for thousands of Nepali migrants who face abuse from employers there.
Maya Kumari Sharma made the remarks six months ago to the BBC Nepali service, but they were reproduced yesterday in a front-page investigation by Britain’s Guardian newspaper into the deaths of Nepali migrants on projects connected to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Nepal’s Communication Minister Madhav Paudel told AFP that Qatar had complained about the comments of the ambassador, who was appointed by the former Maoist government a year and half ago.
“The government decided to recall Sharma because her dealings were not according to diplomatic decorum,” Paudel said.
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