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.


‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

Updated 31 May 2020

‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

  • Turkey claims an agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to create a “fait accompli” over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling off the coast of Libya, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Ankara’s announcement that it intends to activate last year’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli has brought simmering tensions to the boil.   

Turkey claims the agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between its southern coast and Libya’s northeastern coast. However, Greece, Cyprus and the EU say the deal is illegal. Turkey may also face EU sanctions over drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.

Ankara has not said exactly where it will drill, but experts told Arab News they expect exploration activities to begin off Tripoli in the short term, and then near to the coastal city of Sirte.

“From a tactical point of view, Turkey may test the scenario of a crisis with Athens where escalation takes place and then, in the context of de-escalation, the two countries would have to discuss and negotiate their positions,” said Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, said: “If we take Turkish operations off the Cypriot coast as an indicator, operations off the Libyan coast might start off on the less provocative part of the spectrum and grow bolder with time toward the more provocative part of the spectrum.

“The objective is to demonstrate a resolute determination in order to extract concessions or, at the very least, to impose itself as a player to reckon with.”