Migrant workers protest in Qatar over unpaid wages

Images on social media showed more than 100 men blocking a main road in the Msheireb district of the capital Doha late on Friday. (Screenshot/Social Media)
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Updated 24 May 2020

Migrant workers protest in Qatar over unpaid wages

  • Legal action has been taken against the companies involved
  • Almost 90 percent of Qatar’s population are expatriate workers

DOHA: Migrant workers staged a rare protest in Qatar over unpaid wages, the country’s government said Saturday, at a time of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Images on social media showed more than 100 men blocking a main road in the Msheireb district of the capital Doha late on Friday, clapping and chanting as police looked on.
“In response to the late settlement of salaries, a small number of expatriate workers conducted a peaceful protest in the Msheireb area on May 22,” the labor ministry said in a statement.

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READ MORE: Revealed: How coronavirus outbreak is shining a light on violations inside Qatar’s labor camps

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“Following an immediate investigation (the ministry) has taken steps to ensure that all salaries will be promptly paid in the coming days.”
Legal action has been taken against the companies involved in non-payment of salaries, it added.
Almost 90 percent of Qatar’s population are expatriate workers as the country completes dozens of mega-projects ahead of its controversial hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
But the coronavirus and its devastating economic impact have left many workers sick and others unemployed, unpaid and at the mercy of sometimes unscrupulous employers.

Last month, Amnesty International accused Qatar authorities of rounding up and deporting hundreds of migrant workers from Nepal after telling them they were being taken to be tested for coronavirus.


Iran shutters newspaper after expert questions coronavirus numbers

Updated 10 August 2020

Iran shutters newspaper after expert questions coronavirus numbers

  • Jahane Sanat began publishing in 2004 and was mainly focused on business news
  • ‘The administration resorted to secrecy for political and security reasons’

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran shut down a newspaper on Monday after it published remarks by an expert who said the official figures on coronavirus cases and deaths in the country account for only 5 percent of the real toll.
Mohammad Reza Sadi, the editor-in-chief of Jahane Sanat, told the official IRNA news agency that authorities closed his newspaper, which began publishing in 2004 and was mainly focused on business news.
On Sunday, the daily quoted Mohammad Reza Mahboobfar, an epidemiologist the paper said had worked on the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign, as saying the true number of cases and deaths in Iran could be 20 times the number reported by the Health Ministry.
He also said the virus was detected in Iran a month earlier than Feb. 19, when authorities announced the first confirmed case. He said they held up the announcement until after the commemorations of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and parliamentary elections earlier that month.
“The administration resorted to secrecy for political and security reasons,” he said, and only provided “engineered statistics” to the public.
He also criticized testing efforts and warned of a renewed outbreak next month as universities hold entrance exams and people mark major Shiite holidays.
Iran’s Health Ministry has reported a total of nearly 330,000 cases and 18,616 deaths, including 189 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
Authorities in Iran have come under heavy criticism since the start of the pandemic because of their reluctance to impose the kind of sweeping restrictions seen elsewhere in the region. Iran is home to the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East.