Around 300 Bangladeshi migrant workers live in dire conditions in a Qatar labour camp because they have not been paid by their employer for the last six months,
A report in The Daily Star described the terrible state that they are in: no running water or power, unhygienic surroundings, only two meals a day provided by a local charity and frequent illnesses with two deaths already.
It is absolutely unacceptable that workers who have been employed by a foreign company through legal procedures, should be treated in such an inhumane manner. Hamtons International, the employer, had laid off these workers when they suspended one of their construction projects. If that is so, why should the workers have to suffer? And why were they not compensated for sudden termination of their contract?
It is unfathomable, moreover, that although formal complaints have been filed in September with the labour ministry, Qatar-based rights organisations and the police, nothing has been done in the way of helping these workers to get out of this terrible situation. The Bangladesh embassy has apparently offered to help those workers who want to go back home to Bangladesh. But the fact is that these workers need to send money home to their families who are dependent on them, thus going back is not a welcome option.
The authorities in Qatar must make sure that the company in question provides adequate compensation packages to the workers while they wait to find other jobs or be repatriated.
In this scenario it is crucial for the Bangladesh authorities to negotiate with their counterparts in Qatar to ensure that these basic conditions are met. Our government can also provide relief to these hapless men who are passing their days in misery. This crisis must be resolved on an urgent basis, because lives are at stake, like Report’s Amnesty International on Human Rights 2017/2018 https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/POL1067002018ENGLISH.PDF