Nepal should not send labour to Qatar under Kafala law: Bundestag Vice President

Kathmandu, April 11

Vice President of German Bundestag (Parliament) Claudia Roth today said Nepal should not send its workforce to Qatar, especially in the construction field under the current Kafala system in the Gulf state.

Addressing a press meet in the capital, she further said Nepali migrant workers in Qatar faced harsh work environment due to the Kafala system and Nepal should send people there only when the  Gulf state adopts laws under the International Labour Organisation.

Roth was in Nepal on a three-day visit from April 9 to 11. During her stay, she called on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Speaker OnsariGharti. She also interacted with lawmakers, representatives of civil society and human rights defenders in Nepal.

“I have spoken on this issue during my meetings with Nepali officials,” she said, dubbing the Kafala system a modern-day slavery. The Kafala system is used as a measure to monitor migrant labourers, working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors, in Qatar and other Gulf as well as West Asian countries.

Around 700,000 Nepalis are reportedly working in Qatar, mostly in the construction site of a football stadium being constructed for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Many Nepali migrant workers have died at construction sites in Qatar due to severe work-pressure under high temperature, poor hygiene and lack of adequate facilities.

Meanwhile, Roth expressed hope that the local level polls slated for May 14 would be held in an inclusive manner with the participation of all political forces of Nepal.