By SAT News Desk
As Qatar and the world gear up for the World Cup 2022, a deadly consequence of the hectic preparations for the world’s most loved tournament in the last ten years has taken the lives of 6,750 South Asian migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The figure could be higher as labor migrants from other countries (non- South Asian) who died are not included in it. The latest figures for 2020 are also not available. There is an estimated 2 million migrant workforce in Qatar.
A Guardian analysis by nine reporters in different countries (READ GUARDIAN ANALYSIS HERE) compiled from official sources, gives the sordid story of families devastated by the loss of sole bread-winners and loved-ones. The most common reason for the deaths remains ‘natural deaths’. What ‘natural deaths’ means is shrouded in mystery.
“The Guardian’s research has also highlighted the lack of transparency, rigour, and detail in recording deaths in Qatar. Embassies in Doha and governments in labor-sending countries are reluctant to share the data, possibly for political reasons. Where statistics have been provided, there are inconsistencies between the figures held by different government agencies, and there is no standard format for recording the causes of death. One south-Asian embassy said they could not share data on the causes of death because they were only recorded by hand in a notebook. ” the Guardian analysis says.
The Qatar government does not deny the deaths and reports indicate there have been labor reforms for migrant workers in the country. But is this enough.
It’s the duty of South Asian governments to look after their citizens working in any country including Qatar. In fact, there are many other issues of exploitation that migrant workers face which need to be addressed. The news of the death of a loved one working overseas away from family and friends is always devastating. It becomes more painful if the cause behind the tragedy is unknown. ‘Natural deaths’ need to be explained after investigation. This is the need of the 21st century.