A coalition of NGOs including Migrant-Rights.org, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch is urging Qatar to take adequate steps to protect migrant workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
While acknowledging the positive steps taken so far, the open letter issues five key recommendations:
- Ensure that all workers, quarantined or otherwise, whose living conditions leave them particularly vulnerable to infection, are tested and provided with appropriate medical treatment, and that undocumented worker can seek medical treatment without fear of detention. All workers should have access to adequate housing facilities, including a facility to isolate themselves if necessary, as well as water and sanitation, so they can effectively protect themselves;
- No one, including migrant workers, is detained for violating quarantine;
- Migrant workers who are unable to work, either due to preventive quarantine or testing positive for COVID-19, continue to receive their full wages;
- Provide the public with information to ensure that migrant workers, including domestic workers, do not face discrimination or stigma in relation to the COVID-19 virus;
- ensure domestic workers are provided with access to timely and adequate protective measures and healthcare and receive sick pay if they are unable to work due to illness.
The coalition will be sending similar letters to other Gulf States with similarly vulnerable migrant worker populations, but where there is less transparency on how the issue is affecting migrant workers. In this regard, Qatar’s approach is commended and urged to allow the media to report without restriction.