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Qatar: NHRC sets up help desks for expatriate workers

Graphic: Male worker

The National Human Rights Committee of Qatar has established help desks for different expatriate communities.

In a new initiative, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) of Qatar has set up help desks catering to different expatriate communities, staffed by members of the respective communities, The Peninsula reported.

An Indian community help desk was the first such facility to open at the NHRC premises about two-and-a- half months ago. This was followed by the establishment of help desks catering to the Nepalese and Filipino communities.

Kareem Abdullah, former president of Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF) said that the Indian community help desk became a reality after the NHRC responded positively to a request from the ICBF during his tenure.

He said that over a short period, the help desk had received a number of complaints from Indian expatriates, including families, and had helped resolve several cases.

"We receive on average five to six complaints daily. Today, a group of 18 workers approached the help desk seeking a solution to their salary-related problems," Abdullah said.

The complaints range from non-payment of salary, denial of exit permit and sponsorship change by employers to legal and criminal issues. Most of the cases are referred by the Indian embassy, while expatriates also approach NHRC directly.

Several married women approach the help desk seeking support in cases involving their husbands.

"When we receive a complaint we refer it to legal experts at NHRC who examine the case and give proper advice to the concerned person or take up the issue with the higher authorities," said Abdullah.

"A major advantage of the help desk is that community members have easier access to government departments that are crucial in resolving their problems," he added.

He said that since its establishment, the Indian help desk had taken up many issues, especially those related to non-payment of salaries and denial of exit permits by employers and requests for sponsorship changes.

"In such cases, the NHRC calls the sponsors/employers and discuss the issues. In many cases, employers were cooperative in settling the issues amicably," said Abdullah.

Some complaints related to sponsorship and exit permit are resolved with support from the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior, he said.

Date: 4 December 2014

Source: The Peninsula

Image credits

  1. Male worker - Richard Messenger, Flickr Creative Commons