ILO says Qatar inadequate in reporting all work-linked deaths

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Qatar is inadequately investigating and reporting worker deaths including unexplained fatalities among seemingly healthy labourers, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Friday.

An in-depth analysis of work-related deaths and injuries in Qatar by the ILO, has shown that 50 workers lost their lives in 2020 and over 500 were severely injured, with 37,600 suffering mild to moderate injuries.

The ILO said numbers could be higher as authorities don’t classify all work-related deaths as such, including unexplained deaths among healthy workers and heat-related fatalities.

Most were suffered by migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, mainly in the construction industry. Falls from height and road traffic accidents were the top causes of severe injuries, followed by falling objects on worksites.

The report is the result of collection and analysis of data on occupational injuries in Qatar and provides the most complete and accurate picture of work-related deaths and injuries ever compiled in the country.

That data gap should be addressed, with better injury investigations, Max Tunon, head of the ILO’s Qatar office, told Reuters.

In August, Amnesty International criticised Qatar for failing to investigate thousands of unexplained deaths.

A widely-reported Guardian newspaper analysis in February concluded 6,500 South Asian migrants had died in Qatar since 2010, when the country was selected as the 2022 World Cup host. However, Tunon cautioned that Qatar worker death data is frequently reported without necessary nuance.

“The [Guardian’s] number includes all deaths in the migrant population… without differentiation between migrant workers and the general migrant population, let alone fatalities that resulted from occupational injuries,” the ILO said.

Qatar has introduced several labour reforms in recent years, including tougher rules designed to protect workers from heat and raising the minimum wage.

“No other country has come so far on labour reform in such a short amount of time, but we acknowledge that there is more work to be done,” the Qatar government press office said, adding it was reviewing the ILO recommendations. (Source: Independent UK)

 

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