Foreign workers are calling for “arrest and deportation” in Qatar, and an official told CNN: Any claims that workers are being detained or deported without explanation are false
Written by Amy Lewis, Pramod Acharya and Sugam Pokharel.
(CNN) – The World Cup, being held for the first time in the Middle East, is a historic event but also controversial. Much of the preparation for this tournament was linked to more concrete issues, such as human rights, the deaths of migrant workers and the conditions from which they suffer, many in Qatar, the LGBTQ community and women’s rights.
Kamal stood outside a shop in Qatar with other migrant workers after enduring another grueling day’s work: “A few other workers were arrested with no explanation last August,” he says.
The 24-year-old added: “He was put in a car and remained in a Qatari jail for the week after his arrest, his whereabouts and name are unknown.”
“When they arrested me, I couldn’t say anything, not a word, because I was so scared,” he told CNN Sport, speaking from his home in southern Nepal, where he has been working on a farm for three months since his deportation.
A Qatari government official told CNN in a statement that “any allegations that workers are being detained or deported without explanation are false and that such action is only taken in very specific cases, such as when an individual is involved in violence.”
The official added that 97% of all eligible workers are covered by Qatar’s wage protection system, introduced in 2018, which ensures wages are paid in full and on time. The official said further efforts are being made to strengthen this system.
CNN changed the names of the Nepalese workers to protect them, and Kamal is one of many migrant workers keen to tell the world about their experiences in Qatar, the country hosting this month’s World Cup, one of sport’s biggest and most lucrative tournaments , which usually unite the world when millions pursue the gates Exquisite and meticulously crafted ceremonies.
Kamal said: “He is waiting for a reward of 7,000 Qatari riyals (about US$1,922) which he is entitled to from his previous employers. He also didn’t get insurance for 7,000 Qatari riyals two fingers injured at work.”
He added: “I was not told the reason for my arrest, people just stood there, some walking around with groceries and others just sitting and smoking tobacco.” Kamal described the conditions of the cell in which he was held along with 24 others lived Nepali workers and said he was given a blanket and pillow but the mattress on the floor he slept on was full of bed bugs.
He explained: “In the prison there were people from Sri Lanka, Kerala (India), Pakistan, Sudan, Nepal, Africa, the Philippines, and in one prison there were about 250-300 people, 24-25 people each And if they put you in prison bring you, they don’t give you a room right away, they put you on a porch, and after a day or two, as soon as the room is empty, they put people from one country in a room.”
Kamal believes he was arrested for taking a second job, which is illegal under Qatar’s 2004 labor law, which allows authorities to revoke a worker’s work permit. Kamal said he works an extra two to four hours a day to supplement his income because he doesn’t make enough money on six to eight hours a week.
He says he was given papers when he was arrested which Amnesty International says would likely have explained the reason for his arrest, but because they were in Arabic he did not know what he was saying and no translator was provided.
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