“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.
Labour accommodation camps are notoriously overcrowded
“Labour accommodation camps are notoriously overcrowded, and lack in adequate water and sanitation meaning that workers are inevitably less able to protect themselves from the virus. Workers’ proximity to one another in cramped camps also does not allow for any type of social distancing.
“The Qatari government must ensure that human rights remain central to all attempts at prevention and containment of the COVID-19 virus, and also that all people have access to health care, including preventive care and treatment for everyone affected, without discrimination.”
During the course of its research in Qatar, Amnesty International has visited labour camps in Doha’s Industrial Area where large groups of migrant workers were housed in very poor accommodation, sleeping in bunk-beds in over-crowded rooms, with poor sanitation and sometimes with no electricity or running water.
Since 2010, when Qatar was awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar’s migrant worker population has rapidly expanded. Coming from some of the world’s poorest countries, and working in sectors including construction, hospitality and domestic service, migrant workers make up 95% of the country’s labour force. Amnesty International has repeatedly documented concerns about the rights of migrant workers in the Industrial Area, and Qatar’s exploitative labour system.
Reuters – Qatar’s old industrial zone has emerged as a hot spot for the coronavirus in the Gulf Arab state, putting at risk many migrant workers who live and work in the area of car service centers, warehouses and small shops.
The tiny country, where expatriates comprise the majority of the population, on Thursday reported eight more infections to take its tally to 460, the highest number among the six Gulf Arab states that have reported a total of more than 1,300 coronavirus cases.
The GCO did not comment on the total number of people under lockdown in the industrial zone, the total number of migrant workers who have tested positive or the number under quarantine.