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Protecting Nepalis in Qatar

Monday, December 19th, 2016


A week after Qatar abolished its controversial ‘Kafala’ system enabling Nepali migrant workers to change jobs or return home without their employers’ permission, the human rights commissions of the two countries have reached an understanding to ensure greater protection of migrant rights.

On the occasion of International Migrants Day, Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission Chief Anup Raj Sharma and Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission Chief Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marri signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Kathmandu on Sunday.

As per the 11-point MoU, the two commissions will press their respective governments to provide free legal service in Qatar for Nepali migrant workers sacked or exploited by their employers. The Qatari human rights commission will also provide its service for Nepali migrants in Nepali language to enhance their access to justice.

NHRC Nepal’s spokesperson Mohana Ansari told Nepali Times that the both commissions will establish desks in their offices to implement the MoU. “This is an important step towards enabling Nepali migrants to work with dignity in Qatar,” she said.

After Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the number of Nepali workers going to Qatar surged dramatically. An estimated 400,000 Nepalis are still in Qatar, mostly hired to build stadiums, roads, railway, hotels and other infrastructure for the World Cup.

International human rights organisations had been criticising Qatar for treating migrant workers like ‘slaves’, and pushing for reforms in Qatari labour laws.

Last year, Qatar reformed its labour laws under international pressure, ensuring greater protection of migrant rights. This year, just before International Migrants Day, Qatar ended its Kafala system that allowed Qatari employers to enslave migrant workers. After the abolition of Kafala system, migrant workers need not require their employers’ permission to seek new jobs or leave the country.

However, the NHRC Nepal spokesperson Ansari says Nepali migrant workers in Qatar are still vulnerable, and need greater protection.







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One Response to “Protecting Nepalis in Qatar”

  1. anonymous on Says:

    Why go to Qatar in the first place? Lack of education sends them far away suffering even Saudi is not Paradise.
    Some go, at what cost? Tremendous unhappiness, have you spoken to them?

    I wish teachers had the sense of justice journalists have to explain that desire realm does not do it. Why not build or work the fields in Nepal?

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