Qatar: 11 Killed in Labour Camp Fire

The deaths of 11 workers in a Qatar labour camp fire on 1 June is yet another example of the government’s complete disregard for the migrant workers building the huge infrastructure programme in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup.

A further 12 workers were injured in the fire, which happened in a labour camp housing workers on the Salwa tourism development which includes a 362-room Hilton Hotels resort.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Yet more families of migrant workers have been deprived of their loved ones due to the shocking conditions of the workers. 1.4 million workers are living in these labour camps, the vast majority of them in crowded, squalid and dangerous conditions. Open cooking plates, faulty electrical wiring, gas bottles where they shouldn’t be – these are hazards that those who are forced to live in labour camps have to face each day, on top of their often dangerous and unhealthy working environment. The construction companies and global brands such as Hilton cannot escape their responsibility to workers who are trapped in Qatar without rights. Huge profits are being made on the back of modern slavery, and another 11 lives have been lost simply because Qatar refuses to bring its laws into the modern era.”

Qatar pledged to build an extra 40,000 hotel rooms as part of its bid for the 2022 World Cup. The country is notorious for poor fire safety, with fatalities from fires a common occurrence. In 2012, 13 children and six adults died in a fire in Doha’s Villaggio Mall. In 2015, a judge exonerated five people who had previously been found responsible for the Villaggio tragedy and sentenced to prison terms.