Qatar: Should Guarantee Migrant Workers Access to Healthcare During COVID19
With COVID19 spreading globally causing serious challenges to both governments and peoples, migrant workers across the globe, who already suffer from a lack of access to healthcare systems, have been among the most vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic. The Arab Gulf hosts millions of migrant workers who work in different sectors such as construction, services and trade. Qatar hosts one of the largest migrant workers communities in the Gulf.
In Qatar, there are nearly two million migrant workers, a significant number given that the country’s overall population is 2.6 million. As of 29 April 2020, Qatar has recorded 12,564 cases of COVID19. The number is high considering the country’s overall population. Thousands of migrant workers and their families in Qatar have tested positive for the novel virus.
In addition to the health challenges faced by migrant workers in Qatar due to COVID19, these workers can’t afford the implications resulting from a lockdown. Many of these migrant workers work in construction and lived in crowded quarters which threatens their lives. Additionally, these days, migrant workers in Qatar suffer from proper sanitation and nutritious food.
Qatar has previously adopted labor reforms including outlining minimum wage and scrapping mandatory exit visas for workers. Yet, with the outbreak of COVID19 and with thousands of migrant workers testing positive, Qatar is urged to adopt more measures to make sure migrant workers can apply social distancing while working, have their salaries paid on time, and have a full access to healthcare.
The United Nations should urge the governments of the Arab Gulf especially in Qatar to provide protection and access to healthcare to migrant workers during COVID19. The International Labor Organization is should advance social and economic justice of migrant workers in the Arab Gulf through setting international labor standards and making sure governments and companies adhere by them.
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