1,018 Bangladeshi workers die in Qatar in 10 years

Post-mortem examination a need to know reasons

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:02, Feb 24,2021


Some 1,018 Bangladeshi workers died in Qatar in the past 10 years, said a report on Tuesday.

Migration experts demanded that the government should carry out post-mortem examinations to identify the reasons behind their death.

‘Holding post-mortem examinations after getting back the bodies of deceased migrant workers is a need,’ Professor CR Abrar of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit told New Age.

But unfortunately, the labour sending countries, including Bangladesh, are in constant denial on the demand for holding post-mortem examinations, he said.

Abrar made the comments when his attention was drawn to a report published in The Guardian on February 23 which said that more than 6,500 migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka died in Qatar in the past 10 years.

Among the causes, the most common by far is so-called ‘natural death’, often attributed to acute heart or respiratory failure.

Sixty nine per cent of the deaths among Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are categorised as ‘natural’.

Other significant causes of the deaths among Indians, Nepalese and Bangladeshis are road accidents at 12 per cent, workplace accidents at 7 per cent and suicide at 7 per cent.

Such classifications, which are usually made without post-mortem examinations, often fail to provide a legitimate medical explanation for the underlying cause of the deaths, according to the report.

The Qatar government claimed that the number of deaths, which it does not dispute, is proportionate to the size of the migrant workforce and that the figures include white-collar workers who have died naturally after living in Qatar for many years.

Abrar said that most of the workers who leave home for jobs abroad ‘are young’ within an age-range between 20s and 40s.

Heat stroke might be a reason for some deaths, but there might have other reasons, including workplace conditions, living conditions and tensions caused due to non-payment of wages, in most of the cases, he said.

‘It is important to know what triggered the natural death.’

Qatar has been in discussion about the safety of migrant workers after the selection of the country as the host of the World Cup football in 2022, he said.

There were at least some efforts in Qatar to improve conditions on workers safety after the selection, but most of the other worker receiving countries are negligent about the demand, Abrar added.       

Hiba Zayadin, Gulf researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that they had called on Qatar to amend its law on post-mortem examinations to require forensic investigations into all sudden or unexplained deaths, and pass legislation to require that all death certificates include reference to a medically meaningful cause of death, according to The Guardian.

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