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British NGO workers disappear in Qatar after investigating migrant workers' rights

On September 3, 2014

Two British NGO workers researching working conditions of migrant construction workers in Qatar have disappeared.

Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev went missing after having been followed repeatedly by the police, according to a statement released today by their employer, Global Network for Rights and Development.

The pair, British nationals of Nepali origin, had been carrying out an investigation into conditions in the labour camps housing workers building infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

They had landed in Doha on the 27 August to work on a forthcoming report, and had been working from the Nepali Embassy carrying out interviews with migrant workers collecting documents after having been banned from entering the labour camps for field research.

Upadhyaya contacted a friend in Norway by text on Saturday night saying that he and his colleague had been harassed by plainclothes police officers. They had been due to board a flight home on Sunday, but have been incommunicado since the weekend, according to GNRD. The British Embassy in Doha confirmed that Upadhyaya and Gundev had checked out of their hotel, but never took their flight.

GNRD  are concerned that Upadhyaya and Gundev could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Qatar is spending upwards of US$200 billion on developing infrastructure in the run-up to the 2020 World Cup, according to a report from Deloitte released in July. However, dangerous working conditions and unhealthy living quarters have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 400 Nepali migrant construction workers since the Gulf country won the bid to host the World Cup.