Amongst the thousands of workers expected to attend the World Cup in Qatar, a significant proportion have died. These deaths appear to be related to construction work. Qatari authorities categorized the deaths as “natural causes” or suicide. These are often attributed to respiratory failure or acute heart failure.
According to the Business and Human Rights Resources Centre (BHRC), more than 6,500 Indian and South Asian migrant workers have died in Qatar since 2010. According to the Guardian, these deaths are largely due to low-wage dangerous labour. It also points out that nearly a third of the cases are related to World Cup infrastructure projects. These include stadiums, roads and railways.
The Business and Human Rights Resources Centre tracked cases since 2016 and published their findings in April. The organisation believes that all construction activity in Qatar from 2010 was directly linked to the World Cup. It has also called on the ILO to work with the Qatar government to implement labour standards. The ILO will also help to align Qatar’s laws with international standards.
The Indian embassy in Doha has recorded the deaths of 2,711 Indian workers since 2010. This data is based on official data and does not indicate the occupation of the worker. The embassy has not commented on the question of unpaid wages. The embassy has not yet confirmed the circumstances of the deaths. The deaths of many workers were attributed to “natural causes” or to respiratory failure, though it is unclear if this is accurate.
Another Nepalese migrant worker, Mahalal, died in August 2021. He fell off a scaffolding in Doha and was found to be dead. He and three other Nepalese workers were working at a scaffolding site. He was also working in a mobile camp outside Doha. His employer did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
There are no signs that the migrant worker, Kamal, has been compensated. He has not been paid the 7,000 Riyal bonus promised to workers in Qatar. He also did not receive the insurance that was promised for his job.
In a story for Indian Express, a journalist spoke with families of migrant workers to find out what their experiences were like in Qatar. He found that the men were often forced to work. They were paid low wages and often worked long hours in hot weather. Often, they were intimidated by their employers.
There are reports that recruiters have gone to great lengths to locate workers, especially in Indian cities. Some of the workers had to pay up to 240,000 Nepali rupees to their agent before leaving for Qatar. They also had to pay high recruitment fees.
Some of these cases are related to the World Cup, but they go beyond the World Cup stadiums. Recruiters are also searching for workers in Mumbai and other Indian cities. These cases are not uncommon.
In one case, a building supervisor would demand that workers continue to work even though they were unable to finish the job. The building supervisor would also scold the workers for taking a break in the shade. There were many workers who died in hot weather and in extreme heat.