Qatar: Concern grows for missing human rights investigators

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Two British human rights campaigners, investigating the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar have gone missing. 

Ghimire Gundev and Krishna Upadhyaya were last seen on Sunday when they sent panicked texts to colleagues saying they were being followed by police. 

Speaking to ITV News, the Norwegian charity employing the men said it had yet to receive any information from the Qatari authorities despite numerous requests.

“Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) is deeply concerned that these employees, both British citizens, may have been subjected to enforced disappearance and are currently at risk of torture,” said a spokesperson. 

Qatar which is due to host the 2022 football World Cup, has faced international condemnation for its treatment of Nepalese migrant workers and the Kafala system, allowing the employer to have visa and legal rights over foreign labourers. 

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Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary said “Qatar seems to think that creating a climate of fear and intimidation will somehow turn the eyes of the world away from its modern slavery economy.    Hundreds of migrant workers, many of them women, are languishing in Doha’s detention centres simply for running away from abusive and violent employers.  Foreign journalists have been detained for trying to report the truth, and state repression is actually increasing in a country that already showed no respect for basic human rights and legal standards.”

FIFA is pushing ahead with preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with meetings scheduled for 8 September on whether to hold the event in summer or winter.

unnamedITUC leader Sharan Burrow

Ms Burrow added: “FIFA appears to have forgotten about the plight of the hundreds of thousands of migrants building the World Cup infrastructure, with a least one worker losing their life every day.  Even the cosmetic changes to the kafala system of servitude have been put back for as much as 18 months while the local Chamber of Commerce decides if it will allow even these so-called reforms to see the light of day.  FIFA should vote again on who should host in 2022 rather than dancing to the tune of corporate sponsors and multinational construction firms at the expense of some of the world’s most exploited workers.”

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