Qatar denies illegally expelling Nepali migrant workers


KATHMANDU, April 17: Qatar has rejected Amnesty Internationals’ claims that the Qatari government illegally expelled dozens of migrant workers including 20 Nepali men.

Amnesty International, after interviewing the expelled Nepali workers, had earlier accused the Qatari authorities of illegally detaining them alongside hundred others on March 12 and 13 telling them they were being taken to be tested for the COVID-19.

The police had assured them they would be returned to their accommodation afterwards but instead they were sent to Nepal after holding them in detention facilities in an industrial area in appalling conditions where their documents and mobile phones were confiscated, before having their photographs and fingerprints taken, the organizations said further claiming that some were not even given chance to collect their belongings. They were expelled on March 15 and 19.

“We have made it clear to the AI that during the routine inspections as part of the government’s coronavirus control measures, officials uncovered individuals engaged in illegal and illicit activity which included manufacture and sale of banned and prohibited substances, along with the sale of dangerous food goods that could seriously threaten the health of people if consumed,” Qatar’s Government Communication Office said in a press release on Friday.

“The individuals were repatriated to their country of citizenship in accordance with Qatar’s legal system. The discovery of illegal activities preceded the Industrial Area public health quarantine.”

“The government rejects these allegations, which are based on the testimony of individuals who have been repatriated as a result of their involvement in illegal activity. The State of Qatar treats all who are arrested or detained in our country with respect, dignity and humanity in line with international standards,” the office said.