08/20/2012, 00.00
NEPAL - QATAR

Ramadan "saves" 67 Nepali migrant workers in Qatar

Kalpit Parajuli
Without pay for four months, the workers took refuge in a mosque near Doha. In the month of fasting, Muslims engage in works of charity towards the poor and needy. Now the Nepalese workers are demanding the embassy helps them to be repatriated.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The holy month of Ramadan has "saved" the lives of 67 Nepalese workers in Qatar. Without pay for four months, the men have in fact found hospitality and food at a mosque near the Homsalal Ali Usel market, about 35 km from Doha. Charity (zakat) to the poor and needy is one of the five pillars of Islam, and in the month of fasting from dawn to dusk is even practiced as an additional form of purification. However, now that Ramadan is over the Nepalese fear not being able to survive, and have asked their embassy in Qatar to help them return home.

The workers were employed in the Bajra Qatar Company that provides construction labor. Four months ago, the company began to stop paying salaries, and workers found themselves on the street. Raghav Ansari, a native of the district of Parsha in Nepal, said: "We have no money and no job. Unable to eat, my friends and I were too weak and we were fired."

So far however, the Embassy of Nepal in Qatar has shown little reason for hope . Rishiram Ghimire, a diplomat, admits that "67 workers have come to ask for help. We are trying to solve the problem. We talked to their employer, who promised to pay wage arrears within a month and a half." However, the workers asking to go home.

Nepal has more than 4 million of its citizens employed abroad, 10% of whom are women. In fact women migrants are the main victims of sexual abuse, maltreatment and exploitation in the workplace, to the point that on August 10 last year, the Government of Nepal blocked the emigration of women under the age of 30. The majority of cases are in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as other Middle Eastern countries.

 

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