Let Nepalese Migrant Workers Attend Earthquake Funerals


Target: Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar

Goal: Allow Nepalese migrant workers to return to Nepal for funerals of loved ones killed in the recent earthquake.

Nepalese migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for the country’s 2022 World Cup have allegedly been barred from returning to their home country to attend funerals for friends and family killed in April’s massive earthquake. This is a despicable prioritization of industry over the lives of industry workers. Demand that Qatar let these workers return home for these funerals.

The earthquake that struck Nepal late last April was the worst natural disaster to hit the country in almost a century. Official estimates put the total number of dead at 8,635 and the total number of injured at 19,009, but the real numbers for each count are in all likelihood higher. Despite this massive national disaster, the country’s Labor Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung has accused the Qatari government of barring Nepalese migrant workers from leaving the country to return to Nepal for the funerals of those killed in the event.

Qatar—whose migrant labor policies have been condemned by human rights groups as “modern slavery”—requires that all workers seeking to temporarily leave the country get the permission of both their employers and the national government. Representatives for the government claim that it has granted more than 500 Nepalese workers permission to return home, but as Minister Gurung points out, there are “far more than 500 Nepalese working on different World Cup construction sites” around the country.

It certainly appears that, out of a desire to ensure that all the World Cup projects are completed by the time the event begins, Qatar is preventing most Nepalese workers from returning home. These people deserve the right to go back to their country to honor their dead. Sign the petition below to demand that Qatar’s leadership grant these workers permission to do so.


Dear Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,

I am writing you today regarding the status of Nepalese migrant workers in your country. The recent earthquake in Nepal killed more than 8,000 people and many funerals are currently taking place in the country as a result. Your Nepalese workers who lost loved ones in the disaster deserve the right to return to their country to attend their funerals.

The horrific conditions you force your migrant workers to live under already betray your country’s lack of sympathy for them. One Nepalese worker dies every other day, for example, while working on World Cup projects in your country. Estimates predict that for every football match played in your country during the 2022 World Cup, 62 workers will have died. This is abominable.

While I understand the pressure your country must feel to have everything completed in time for this international event, giving Nepalese workers who lost friends and family the chance to take a break and return to their country to attend the funerals will not significantly impact that goal. I applaud your allowing 500 workers to do that, but there can be no doubt that there are countless others who want to do the same and have been denied the opportunity.

No one could have predicted the earthquake, and your workers should not be blamed for it. I demand that you immediately allow the Nepalese in your country to return home to attend their loved ones’ funerals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Samsujata

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