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Qatar and Bangladesh settle new agreement to protect the rights of Bangladeshi workers

Qatar and Bangladesh settle new agreement to protect the rights of Bangladeshi workers

Qatar and Bangladesh settle new agreement to protect the rights of Bangladeshi workers

Qatar and Bangladesh settle new agreement to protect the rights of Bangladeshi workers

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  • During Qatar’s visit to Dhaka, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani signed the agreement.
  • The agreement also emphasizes labor rights protection, safety, and healthy environment issues.
  • Bangladesh’s Migration Program and Youth Initiatives of BRAC welcomed the agreement.
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On Wednesday, a top official announced that a new agreement between Qatar and Bangladesh includes commitments to establish protections for migrant workers. Qatar, under harsh criticism for failing to safeguard the rights of laborers who constructed its 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure, has taken this step.

Migrant workers from South Asia, especially Bangladesh and Nepal, played an indispensable role in Qatar’s preparations to host the world’s biggest football event and have been vital to its economy. Qatar’s government, semi-government, and private sector employ approximately 350,000 Bangladeshis.

The jobs have enabled them to send remittances back home to their families, but many have reported contract violations and illnesses linked to unsafe working conditions. The spotlight fell on the problems between 2010 when FIFA granted Qatar the World Cup, and 2022, when the event took place.

During the decade, the Qatari government reported that 30,000 foreign laborers constructed seven new stadiums, an airport expansion, a new metro, and hotels. Rights groups and investigative journalists have estimated that more than 6,000 of them died in work-related deaths.

During the visit of Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Dhaka, officials signed a new memorandum on Bangladeshi migrant workers — 80 percent of whom are employed in Qatar’s construction industry.

“A joint working group will be formed for solving labor rights issues,” Khairul Alam, additional secretary at Bangladesh’s Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, told the news.

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“Our Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment will lead the joint working group from the Bangladeshi side.”

The agreement commits both the Qatari and Bangladeshi sides to discuss “ways to develop legislation relevant to areas of labor” and includes plans for a review to ensure that worker rights are in place.

Alam emphasized that the MoU also highlighted labor rights protection, safety, and health environment issues, mentioning them several times.

“The agreement also said that in case of any issues regarding migrants both countries will sit together and solve the issues amicably.”

The Migration Program and Youth Initiatives of BRAC — Bangladesh’s largest development organization, welcomed the signing of the agreement. They estimated that more than 1,300 workers from the country died in Qatar during the World Cup construction spree, with many deaths attributed to heart attacks.

“Most of our migrant workers prefer the Middle Eastern countries, and after Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman, Qatar is the preferred destination for the Bangladeshi migrants. Shariful Hasan, the program’s associate director, stated that in this context, such a type of MoU on labor employment is helpful for the protection of migrant workers’ rights.

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Hasan informed the news that it was an “expression of interest from both sides to ensure the welfare of the migrants,” who were playing a significant role in Qatar’s development.

“If the migrant-receiving country like Qatar focuses on the welfare and protection of the migrants, it will create a win-win situation for both countries. I think the signing of this MoU is a big development toward this.”

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