Death and indentured servitude in Qatar

The natural gas fields controlled by tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar make it the richest nation in the world in income and production (GDP) per person.  Its rulers have ambitious plans to make it a business and tourism center for the Middle East and the world.  The prestige of Qatar is symbolized by the fact that it will be host to soccer’s World Cup in 2022..

Yet Qatar’s riches rest on the labor of non-citizens, most of them migrant laborers who have no rights, and work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions for poverty wages, which sometimes are withheld from them.

Only about 250,000 people, all of them native Qataris, are citizens.  Most of the rest of Qatar’s estimated 2 million residents are migrant laborers, who comprise 94 percent of the country’s work force.  The kingdom is busy constructing stadiums, hotels and other facilities for the 2022 World Cup, and another 1 million new migrant workers are expected in the coming decade.

Qatar’s labor system resembles the indentured servitude that existed in Britain’s American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries.  The video above shows their working conditions.  Workers can come to Qatar only if they have a Qatari sponsor.  Once in Qatar, they cannot change jobs, get a driver’s license, rent an apartment, open a back account or leave the country without the sponsor’s permission.  This leaves them with no recourse if they’re not paid their wages.

A majority of Qatar’s migrants are from the Indian subcontinent, many of them from the Himalayan nation of Nepal, and many of the rest are from the Philippines and Indonesia.  When you have a tiny elite of rich people ruling over a large number of impoverished laborers, this is a bad situation.  When the elite are of a different nationality, culture or religion from the laborers, it is an unstable situation.

The United States military has a big stake in the region.  Qatar hosts the U.S. headquarters and principal air base for the Middle East region.  I would hate to see the U.S. government helping the Qatari government put down an uprising of its people.


Human rights in Qatar by Wikipedia.

Kafala system by Wikipedia, which is about the system of indentured servitude prevalent in the Persian Gulf monarchies.

Hat tip to my e-mail pen pal Jack Clontz for the following.

Qatar World Cup construction ‘will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead’ by Robert Booth for The Guardian.

At 16, Ganesh got a job in Qatar | Two months later he was dead by Pete Pattisson for The Guardian.

Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘Slaves’ by Pete Pattisson for The Guardian.

Qatar World Cup Is Being Built Through Slave Labor, While FIFA Stays Silent by Charles Corra for PolicyMic.  FIFA is the governing body for World Cup soccer. | Take Action

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2 Responses to “Death and indentured servitude in Qatar”

  1. Buddy2Blogger Says:

    Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog.


  2. dodgerfan333 Says:

    Reblogged this on Dodgerfan333 and commented:
    Wonder how the world cup will go over in 2022.


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