Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EUROPE NOW

60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome: What's to celebrate?

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

How traffickers lie to migrants wanting to go to Europe; and the gold rush polluting rivers in Ivory Coast

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Startled startups flee UK ahead of Brexit

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

What's next for Yemen?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French Guiana: 'A powder keg abandoned by the state'

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French presidential election: Over 40% remain undecided

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

ICC orders former DR Congo warlord to pay damages to victims

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trumpcare falls before first hurdle

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Westminster Attack, Abadi in Washington (part 1)

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2014-04-01

Worked to death in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup

© France 24

Every day Nepalese workers venture to the Gulf States in search of a better life. Some of these workers will not survive. Those who do receive little or no wages and are given virtually no freedom – all the ingredients of modern, organised slavery. From Nepal to Qatar, FRANCE 24 went to investigate why young people who left in good health could die in such large numbers on the building sites of the 2022 World Cup.

Our report begins with a shocking image: the coffins that arrive every day at Kathmandu airport. Inside are the bodies of Nepalese labourers who went to work in the Gulf States. In 2013, 173 Nepalese workers died in Qatar of accidents, suicides and mysterious heart attacks, according to the Nepalese government. 

Our investigation begins in the remote villages of Nepal, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Every Nepalese family sends at least one of its members to work in the Arabian Peninsula. In Kathmandu, we filmed the incredible queues of workers getting ready to leave. We wanted to tell their story, and decided to fly to Qatar with a group of these workers. 

Several journalists reporting on the Nepalese workers have been arrested and expelled from the emirate, which will host the 2022 World Cup and does not want any bad publicity. So in Doha we pretended to be tourists. We managed to film the building sites and talk to the workers. At night, we visited the dilapidated houses in which the workers live in cramped conditions and where the summer temperature is around 50 degrees Celsius. Many suffer from dehydration and diseases. These are appalling living conditions for one of the world's richest countries.

More shocking still, we met workers who can no longer leave Qatar. The Qatari labour code (kafala system) gives all the power to employers, who can confiscate passports and often pay salaries late, or not at all. In September 2013, the Nepali ambassador to Qatar was recalled to Kathmandu after she described Qatar as an “open jail” for Nepalese workers. In a report published in November 2013, Amnesty International described a situation akin to slavery. Under pressure from FIFA, the Qatari government announced reforms in February. But our report also shows that the government is not the only guilty party: shameless subcontractors in Qatar and fraudulent agents back in Nepal also take advantage of the Nepalese labourers. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates that if the living and working conditions do not change, over 4,000 workers could die before the 2022 World Cup.

By Sébastien BOUILLE , Constantin SIMON , Bhoj BHAT

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-03-23 Europe

Video: Crimean dissidents silenced by Moscow

Three years after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, Russia has deployed all the tools at its disposal, in the police and the justice system, to silence...

Read more

2017-03-16 Americas

Canada’s indigenous people determined to improve their lives

Although Canada regularly tops international rankings for its quality of life, the daily existence of the country’s indigenous people, also known as "First Nations", has more in...

Read more

2017-03-09 Middle East

Iraq's lost children: Victims of post-traumatic stress

In Iraq, thousands of civilians are fleeing the battle of Mosul against the Islamic State group jihadists. Many of the displaced have reached IDP camps in the north of the...

Read more

2017-03-03 Africa

Libya: Six years on, what remains of the revolution in key city of Zintan?

Six years have passed since the outbreak of the revolution that led to the ouster and killing of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. With the country divided between rival clans,...

Read more

2014-03-14 Bashar al-Assad

Syria’s chemical attacks: the inside story

A chemical weapons attack targeted the suburbs of Damascus in August 2013. The West threatened air strikes in response, and Syria agreed to destroy its chemical arms stockpile....

Read more