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22 Mar 2021

Qatar: Workers tell of unsanitary, cramped & inhumane COVID-19 quarantine

By March 2021, COVID-19 has massively impacted daily life for migrant workers in the Gulf, with many being asked to quarantine or isolate within their accommodation or at external sites to stop spread of the virus. In this piece, Migrant-Rights.org describe the experiences of three migrant workers who experienced unsanitary and unsafe accommodation, where food was insufficient or inedible.

One GSS Certis worker had to isolate in their accommodation after exposure to colleagues who had tested positive.Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited GSS Certis, their holding company Temasek, and the client Msheireb Properties to respond to the allegations; GSS Certis and Msheireb Properties provided responses which can be read in full below.

After Minor International disclosed to the Resource Centre they outsourced security for their Anantara resort from GSS Certis we also asked them to respond to the report; their response can be read below.

In May 2021, Noah/Malcolm Bidali was arrested by the Qatari authority, ostensibly because of his activism. He has been released and charged with spreading disinformation and receiving payments from a "foreign agent". See our ongoing coverage of Malcolm's case here.

An eight-day ordeal, where they faced neglect, where they were exposed to further risks, including infection. Eight days of malnutrition, mistreatment by camp officials, and a deterioration of mental health. Eight days of inaction by the relevant authorities, who I made aware of the situation through a series of tweets... One institution, PHCC, saw the tweet and never bothered to inquire further.
Noah, GSS Certis worker, on the quarantine experience of a colleague

The second experience described was that of a returned domestic worker whose mandatory quarantine was paid for by her employer, booked through the Discover Qatar website of Qatar Airways Holidays. The food they were provided with during the stay had frequently gone bad, workers staying at the accommodation had to clean the place themselves and they were unable to contact anyone to complain. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre contacted Qatar Airways to invite them to respond. Qatar Airways replied that they contacted the Govt. regarding the concerns outlined in the article and the Government provided a response that the Mekaines accommodation was found to be breaching government health and safety standards. A full investigation in conjunction with the Qatar Red Crescent is being carried out and a the accommodation is under review. Their response can be read in full below.

Company Responses

GSS Certis (Certis subsidiary) View Response
Msheireb Properties View Response

No Response

Qatar Airways View Response
Minor International View Response