Human rights groups slam Qatar for exposing migrant workers to COVID-19


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Taking a serious note of the Qatari defiance and continued indifference toward the plight of migrants workers, who are facing the brunt of coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of 16 global nongovernmental organizations and trade unions, including the Human Rights and Amnesty International, have recently written a stinging letter to Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani.

In their letter, they have asked the Qatari authorities to ensure migrant workers receive adequate protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.“Qatari authorities should, among other recommendations, ensure that all migrant workers including undocumented workers, quarantined or otherwise, have access to testing and get appropriate medical treatment,” the groups said in their letter.

“They should ensure that migrant workers who are unable to work, either due to preventive quarantine or testing positive for COVID-19, continue to receive wages; provide public information to ensure that migrant workers, including domestic workers, do not face discrimination or stigma in relation to the COVID-19 virus; and in light of their acute vulnerability, ensure that domestic workers have access to timely and adequate protective measures and health care, the letter added.

The move follows several reports and investigations highlighting the risk the expatriates workers face of contracting the infection while working in crowded workplaces and in their camps. Despite a significantly high number of the coronavirus in the country being reported among the expatriates workers, the authorities seem to be either indifferent or have turned a blind eye to their plight, continuing to expose them to the deadly virus.

Recently, Amnesty International had castigated Qatar for gross human rights violations in the face of the pandemic “As the world struggles to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant workers trapped in camps such as those in Qatar are at particular risk of exposure to the virus,” a top official of the global human rights organization had said.