Qatar World Cup: 1,018 Bangladeshi migrant workers died
Published: 07:41 PM, 23 February 2021
Photo: The Guardian
It has been 10 years that Qatar occupied the right to host the Football World Cup 2022 and since the last ten years, more than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who employed as construction workers in various projects surrounding the World Cup in the country have died, according to the Guardian report.
Hoverer, from achieving the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup the oil-rich country has been criticized for many issues as it was revealed that the country not given the responsibility to host the World Cup in a legal way.
The Guardian reports claimed that an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian nations Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar every week since the night in December 2010 when the country started to celebrate its victory.
Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka on the basis of the Guardian's reliable sources and government figures in four countries except Pakistan revealed there were 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the period 2011–2020.
Among the deceased, there were 1,018 Bangladeshi migrant workers.
Besides, the separate data from Pakistan's embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020.
The data for the end of 2020 is not as such. The death toll in the Philippines and Kenya, which is far ahead in labor supply in Qatar, is unknown. That's why the Guardian suspects that the exact number of deaths of migrant workers in Qatar is much higher.
It is to be believed that the total death toll is significantly higher, as these figures do not include deaths from a number of countries that send large numbers of workers to Qatar, including the Philippines and Kenya. It is also reported that deaths that occurred in the final months of 2020 are also not included.
In the last 10 years, Qatar has undertaken all the mega projects for hosting the World Cup including seven new stadiums have been built. New roads and a modern public transport system, including a new airport, are being introduced. The country has needed innumerable manpower for all such large installations and development works while 2 million migrant workers are now in Qatar on the occasion (to work in many projects as preparations for 2022 tournament) of the World Cup.
FairSquare Projects works for workers' rights in the Middle East. Its director Nick McGeehan linked the death of migrant workers to the World Cup project, “A very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup."
There have been 37 deaths among workers while working on construction of World Cup stadiums, however, 34 of which are classified as “non-work related” by the World Cup Organizing Committee.
However, experts have questioned these claims. Some workers have died while working in the stadium area, there have been several such incidents.
Qatar has claimed most of the deaths as “natural" in the last 10 years. According to the Guardian, 69% of deaths among Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are categorised as natural. Among Indians alone, the figure is 80%.
The Guardian reports that autopsies are not allowed in most of the cases. In 2014, the Qatari government's own lawyers also suggested an autopsy to increase the number of deaths among migrant workers from heart attacks. But the government did not heed that advice. In 2019, it was reported that extreme temperatures in Qatar were having a major impact on worker deaths.
The research commissioned by the UN’s International Labour Organization which revealed that for at least four months of the year workers faced significant heat stress when working outside.
The Qatari government claims that worker mortality is still normal in the country with saying the death toll in Qatar has risen at the same rate as the increasing number of migrant workers.
“The mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population. However, every lost life is a tragedy, and no effort is spared in trying to prevent every death in our country,” the Qatari government said in a statement by a spokesperson.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Fifa, football’s world governing body, said it is fully committed to protecting the rights of workers on Fifa projects. “With the very stringent health and safety measures on site … the frequency of accidents on Fifa World Cup construction sites has been low when compared to other major construction projects around the world."