Doha, World Cup: two Nepalese activists investigating labor exploitation disappear
by Christopher Sharma
Krishna Upadhyaya and Gundev Ghimire work for the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), a Norwegian Human Rights organization. They were in the Gulf country to investigate the situation of migrants involved in World Cup constructions. They last made contact five days ago, "We are being followed by the police, it seems we are creating a lot of problems." The local authorities do not respond to the demands of the international community.

Doha (AsiaNews) - Two Nepalese activists engaged in the fight against labor exploitation have disappeared in Qatar. The two are both resident in the UK and work for the Global Network for Rights and Development (Gnrd), a Norwegian Human Rights organization. They were in the Gulf country to investigate the situation of migrants employed on constructions sites for the infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022 The last contact with them dates back to last August 31, when one of them has sent a sms saying being followed by the police.

Krishna Upadhyaya (52) and Gundev Ghimire (36) had arrived in Doha to gather interviews and testimonials from Nepalese workers in Qatar. An investigative report that made global headlines August 2013 described the nation as the worst place to which a Nepali could emigrate to find work. Between June 4 and August 8 of that year, at least 44 foreign workers have died from heart problems or accidents in the workplace and the trend is clearly worsening since FIFA decided to award the World Cup to Doha . According to some sources migrants are treated "like slaves", they earn about 50 cents per day and have no union protection or health care cover.

Evgenia Kondrakhina, executive director of the NGO, confirms that he has lost all contact with the two envoys: "Krishna has sent two messages, the first to a friend and the second to me. The one I received said: We are followed by the police. They will give me trouble. On the day they disappeared they were trying to leave the country on a booked flight.  But they never checked in".

The Nepalese diplomatic mission in Qatar said it is "in touch" with the local authorities: according to the British embassy, the two have paid the hotel bill but never arrived at the airport. Several international organizations for human rights, and some EU officials have asked the government of the Gulf nation for an "explanation" of this disappearance, but until now have received no response.

 

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