Category: Immigration


 

The Hill

Pelosi warns focus on deportations a ‘gift’ to Republicans

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Immigration reformers shifting their focus from Congress to the White House over deportations risk undermining efforts to pass a comprehensive reform bill this year, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday.

Pelosi said she supports the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s calls for the administration to reduce deportations. But simultaneously taking pressure off of House Republicans, she added, is a “gift” to GOP leaders, allowing them to dodge a sensitive issue that could hurt them in the 2014 election.

“That’s a gift to the Republicans,” she said. “Because the fact is, the Republicans are never going to move unless they think there’s a price to play politically for not bringing the bill to the floor.”

Pelosi stressed that legislation remains the Democrats’ ultimate goal, and urged reformers to stay focused on Congress getting a bill.

“I see the pain and suffering of the deportations,” she said. “But the answer, the medicine for every ill in the deportations is to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Pelosi did not say that congressional Democrats or the White House should no longer consider reduced deportations. But her warning that the actions of pro-immigration groups could deliver Republicans a political benefit could raise questions about the strategy overall.

Many Democrats are calling on President Obama for reduced deportations, and Obama has asked Department of Homeland Security leaders for an across-the-board review of his deportations policies.

The move has made many critics hopeful he’ll expand the administration’s deferred action program, which allows some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as kids to remain in the United States temporarily, to a broader population.

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Pelosi: Race playing role in GOP’s reluctance to move immigration bill

Greg Nash

Issues of race have made GOP leaders reluctant to back immigration reform, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) charged Thursday.

 

The Democratic leader suggested that the Republicans would have moved a reform bill long ago if whites were the only beneficiaries.”I think race has something to do with the fact that they’re not bringing up an immigration bill,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it were just you, this would be easy.’ “

The remarks came in response to a question about the often-testy relationship between congressional Republicans and the administration of President Obama, the nation’s first black president.

There’s long been grumbling among Democrats that Obama’s race has exacerbated the partisan divide between the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans, highlighted recently by a flare-up between Attorney General Eric Holder, who is black, and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.

Pelosi was reluctant to say that race issues have fueled those tensions, arguing more broadly that Republicans have been “very disrespectful” of White House officials regardless of their ethnicity.

 

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Published time: March 01, 2014 19:52

People walk in front of unidentified armed men patroling near the Simferopol airport on February 28, 2014 (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

People walk in front of unidentified armed men patroling near the Simferopol airport on February 28, 2014 (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

Russian migration authorities report a huge spike in requests coming from Ukrainians to seek asylum in Russia, as some 143,000 people filed documents in just two weeks. Officials vow to process the requests in shortest possible time.

“Tragic events in Ukraine have caused a sharp spike in requests coming from this country seeking asylum in Russia,” said chief of citizenship desk Valentina Kazakova. “We monitor figures daily and they are far from comforting. Over the last two weeks of February, some 143,000 people applied.”

Kazakova said most requests come from the bordering areas and especially from Ukraine’s south.

“People are lost, scared and depressed,” she said. “There are many requests from law enforcement services, state officials as they are wary of possible lynching on behalf of radicalized armed groups.”

Relatives residing within Russia have been urging officials to process the requests in the shortest possible time. Officials say that though each request will be treated individually, all such addresses will be handled as soon as possible.

 

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Revelations of mistreatment of maids and cleaners add to picture of widespread labour abuse in World Cup host nation

 

 

Qatari women with maid

Qatari women with their children and housemaid strolling in Doha. Photograph: Stock Connection/REX

 

Foreign maids, cleaners and other domestic workers are being subjected to slave-like labour conditions in Qatar, with many complaining they have been deprived of passports, wages, days off, holidays and freedom to move jobs, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Hundreds of Filipino maids have fled to their embassy in recent months because conditions are so harsh. Many complain of physical and sexual abuse, harassment, long periods without pay and the confiscation of mobile phones.

The exploitation raises further concerns about labour practices in Qatar in advance of the World Cup, after Guardian reports about the treatment of construction workers. The maids are not directly connected to Qatar’s preparations for the football tournament, but domestic workers will play a big role in staffing the hotels, stadiums and other infrastructure that will underpin the 2022 tournament.

Our investigation reveals:

• The Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) sheltered more than 600 runaway maids in the first six months of 2013 alone.

• Some workers say they have not been paid for months.

• Many housemaids do not get days off.

• Some contracts and job descriptions are changed once the workers arrive in Qatar.

• Women who report a sexual assault can be charged with illicit relations.

The non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their employer constitute forced labour under UN rules. According to the International Labour Organisation, forced labour is “all work which is exacted from someone under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”.

Lack of consent can include induced indebtedness and deception about the type and terms of work, withholding or non-payment of wages and the retention of identity documents. Initial consent may be considered irrelevant when deception or fraud has been used to obtain it.

“Menace of penalty” can include physical violence, deprivation of food and shelter, non-payment of wages, the inability to repay a loan, exclusion from future employment and removal of rights and privileges.

Modern-day slavery is estimated to affect up to 21 million people across the globe.

When the Guardian visited in January, at least 35 runaway maids had sought sanctuary at the POLO in the capital, Doha, which provides support to 200,000 Filipinos in Qatar. The welfare officer said most complained of pay being withheld, insufficient food, overwork and maltreatment. Some said they had endured verbal and physical abuse by sponsors of different nationalities.

Eight Filipino workers interviewed by the Guardian said they had not been paid for six months, were sometimes deprived of food while cleaning for long hours and had had their passports confiscated.

“We are afraid,” said 28-year-old Jane*. “We don’t really know what to do. We are trying to survive. That’s why we do part-time jobs secretly.” If they are caught breaching their contract, the maids face months in a deportation centre. The repatriation process is often delayed when people do not have their passports, according to James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on Gulf migrants’ rights.

Qatar vigorously denies it is a “slave state” and is understood to be reviewing the controversial system that governs migrant labour, and to have stepped up inspections of businesses that use migrant labour. The Qatari labour ministry said in a statement: “We have clear laws and contractual terms in place to protect all people who live and work in Qatar and anyone found to have broken those laws will be prosecuted accordingly.” It said that non-payment of wages and confiscation of passports were illegal in Qatar, and added: “The vast majority of workers in Qatar – domestic or otherwise – work amicably, save money and send this home to improve the economic situation of their families and communities in their home countries.”

But the Philippines-based OFW (Overseas Foreign Workers) Watch, which supports Filipino migrant workers, said physical abuse, delayed and refused salaries, the misrepresentation of employers and contracts and passport confiscations were common issues in Qatar. The Guardian has already highlighted this malpractice in its investigation into the mistreatment of migrant workers as Qatar gears up for the 2022 World Cup.

As with the construction workers, the abuse of maids is systemic and brought into sharp focus by a lack of legal protection and the kafala sponsorship system, under which workers cannot leave the country or change jobs without their employer’s permission, Lynch said.

“The women we’ve spoken to who have suffered abuses in the workplace, ranging from excessive working hours to physical violence, their employers came from a variety of countries,” he added.

Many maids say they do not get any rest days and that employers confiscate their mobile phones.

Several recruitment agencies contacted by phone told a Guardian reporter pretending to be a would-be client that they routinely withheld the passports of their migrant workers. One agency volunteered that it was up to the sponsor whether the maid had a day off. “If you want to give an off day, let them rest at your house,” an Al Hadeel Manpower representative said. “Don’t give them free days outside because there is more problems outside.”

 

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Proposal to allow wealthy to bid for tier-one visas criticised as creating ‘eBay culture’ for British residence
Passports being checked at passport control

Visas giving the right to settle in Britain are already available to rich individuals under tier one of the points-based immigration system. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Visas giving the right to settle in Britain could be auctioned off to the highest bidders under proposals expected to be unveiled on Tuesday by the government’s official immigration advisers.

The suggestion, expected from the home secretary’s migration advisory committee (Mac), has already been criticised by immigration lawyers for creating an “eBay culture” for permanent UK residence.

Under the proposal overseas millionaires will be invited to bid for a limited proportion of investor or tier-one UK visas which allow holders and their families to live indefinitely in Britain.

A second option would allow visas to be “bought” through donations to hospitals or universities.

The proposals are expected to be put forward in response to concerns that the existing investor visa route is failing to benefit the UK and has simply become a cheap way for some wealthy Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern families to settle permanently in Britain.

The existing route, known as tier one of the points-based immigration system, lets rich individuals accelerate the process of being allowed to settle in the UK by between two and five years depending on how much is invested.

Applications have been running at about 600 a year to apply under this route which does not require applicants to be able to speak English or have a job to come to.

Official concern over the use being made of tier-one visas first came to light in December 2012 when the Home Office announced that leveraged investment funds held in offshore accounts could not be used to fund their investments in Britain.

 

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Oligarchs buy UK visas for £1million: Now Home Office advisers want to auction them off for at least £2.5m so taxpayers get a better deal

  • Migration Advisory Committee issues call for immigration shake-up
  • Oligarchs offered visas for taking on £1million of £1trillion national debt
  • Wants 100 visas to be sold at auction or given to donors to universities

By James Slack

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Britian has been handing visas to hundreds of Russian oligarchs in return for them paying at least £1million towards our £1.2trillion national debt.

Russian and Chinese businessmen have been allowed to jump to the front of the immigration queue by ‘investing’ a seven-figure sum in Government gilts.

Immigration advisers say the foreign investors and their families are the big winners because as long as they have their money stored in Treasury bonds, they can settle in the UK and enjoy its fair legal system and good schools.

The Home Office's Migration Advisory Committee warned the British public get 'very little out of' the deals which allow Russian and Chinese businessmen have been allowed to jump to the front of the immigration queue

The Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee warned the British public get ‘very little out of’ the deals which allow Russian and Chinese businessmen have been allowed to jump to the front of the immigration queue

 

Indeed, because they receive interest on the bonds, the Government is effectively paying the wealthy to live here – where they can then also invest in our lucrative property market. If they take their money out of the bonds the visa is revoked.

But the British public gets very little out of the deal, according to the Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee.

It is calling for a major shake-up of the scheme to get more benefit for the British taxpayer.

Currently, non-EU nationals who invest £1million, £5million or £10million can apply for permanent residency after five, three or two years respectively.

Under proposed new rules, the minimum amount they would need to invest to come here would be doubled to £2million and they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency after five years.

Instead of going into bonds, MAC suggests the money could be ploughed into large infrastructure projects.

More controversially, the committee also wants around 100 visas to be auctioned off to the highest bidder every year.

 

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ALERT! URBAN SHIELD TURNS INTO LIVE FALSE FLAG EVENT IN CALIFORNIA!

DAHBOO77

Published on Oct 25, 2013

Day 1 of their sweeps, 2 Cops Shot and they already have a whole city on lockdown! RED ALERT For Anyone in Cali From 10/25-28th! 100 Cities are in this drill going Live as a False Flag on the people !

http://www.urbanshield.org/index.php/…

http://www.kcra.com/news/kcra-live-vi…

 

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BREAKING: Roseville standoff in officer’s shooting

8:32 PM, Oct 25, 2013

ROSEVILLE, CA – Multiple police agencies are in the area of Riverside Avenue in response to the shootings of an ICE agent and Roseville police officers Friday afternoon.

A city of Roseville spokesperson confirmed one officer shot is with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The officer was transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Witnesses said it appeared the ICE agent’s leg wound was accidentally self-inflicted but that was not confirmed by authorities.

ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice provided this statement:

A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was shot Friday afternoon shortly after 3 p.m. while conducting a joint enforcement action with investigators from the police department in Roseville, Calif. The special agent was rushed to a local hospital where he is now reported to be stable and alert.  Additional HSI agents are en route to the incident scene and will be assisting the Roseville Police Department with the ongoing investigation.

The nature of the enforcement wasn’t clear yet, although Roseville police tweeted they’ve been looking for the suspect for a week.

 

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Calif. manhunt turns into standoff; 4 officers hurt in shooting

 

City advises residents, businesses to lock doors

UPDATED 9:56 PM EDT Oct 25, 2013

Courtesy

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (KCRA) —Four law enforcement officials were hurt by a wanted, at-large parolee in a shooting, police in Roseville, Calif., said Friday evening.

Photos: Massive police response in Roseville after shooting

Yet another person was treated at the scene, but not hospitalized with gunshot-type injuries, like the other victims, a nearby hospital said.

Join Live Wire for real-time updates

The situation has been unfolding since about 3 p.m., and details have evolved over the past few hours, as well.

First, a special agent with Immigration Customs Enforcement was shot in the leg. Investigators identified Sammy Duran as the suspect responsible.

Duran is armed with an assault-type weapon and hasn’t yet been arrested, according to Carl Wastad, a spokesman for the Roseville Police Department.

The other three injured officers are with Roseville police. One was hit by bullet fragments, one was shot in the jaw and the other shot in the shoulder.

All the victims are at Sutter Roseville Hospital. The ICE agent is expected to survive — and listed as stable and alert. The conditions of the other three officers aren’t known.

In the meantime, the situation has changed from a manhunt to a standoff. Police have pinned Duran inside a house. It’s not clear if he broke in, or somehow is tied to the home.

No one else is inside with him, at Sixth Street and Hampton Avenue. Police are having contact with Duran.

Neighbors are asked to stay inside their homes and lock their doors.

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By Benjamin Bidder

Photo Gallery: Authorities Raid Moscow Wholesale Market Photos
AP

Following the alleged murder of a young Russian by a foreigner, angry protesters rioted at a nearby wholesale market known to employ immigrants. Now authorities have cracked down on the market, believed to be controlled by criminal gangs.

When the TV cameras arrive at the huge Pokrovskaya fruit and vegetable market in Moscow, those who are really in control of the market send their saleswomen out to talk to the reporters, while they watch from a distance in their dark SUVs.

ANZEIGE

The women talk about tomatoes from southern Russia and grapes from Moldova. Moscow authorities have kept the market closed for the past few days, and plans are to keep it closed much longer.

Larissa, a farmer’s wife from Astrakhan, wanted to sell her harvest in Moscow. “I’ve got 13 tons of red bell peppers in the truck, and they’ve been rotting there since Sunday,” she said.

That’s when an angry crowd of residents from the nearby West Biryulyovo district and aggressive neo-Nazis from other areas stormed the market. The trigger was the death of a young man named Yegor Sherbakov, who was knifed in the immediate vicinity of the market.

Witnesses described the alleged perpetrator as a “non-Russian.” An Azerbaijani man has been arrested for the crime, and Russian officials say he confessed to killing the man in self-defense.

But to many it seemed obvious that the murderer would be connected to the wholesale market. Gangs originating in Central Asia and the Caucasus have controlled the fruit and vegetable trade in Moscow for the past two decades and Pokrovksaya is the largest of the Russian capital’s wholesale markets. The complex extends over 35 hectares (86 acres) and has over 1,600 spaces for trucks to park. Some 40 to 50 percent of all Moscow vegetable deliveries pass through Pokrovskaya, with annual sales of $9 billion (€6.6 billion).

Risky and Lucrative

It’s a lucrative business. Moscow fruit and vegetable prices are on average significantly higher than those in Germany. One reason for the higher prices might be the cuts demanded by criminal intermediaries. Merchants are obligated to pay the mafia 100,000 rubles ($3130) per ton they process. But the risks are as high as the profits. Since 2007 approximately 20 murders have been considered linked to the struggle for control of Pokrovskaya.

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Russia Beyond The Headlines

Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

October 16, 2013 Marina Obrazkova, RBTH
The conflict that started in the capital has spread to other major cities.

Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

At least 380 rioters were arrested as a crowd of up to 3,000 rampaged through the Biryulyovo district on Oct. 13. Source: RIA Novosti

In the Russian regions, people have started taking to the streets in support of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulovo, who staged riots in response to the murder of a young man by immigrants. Saratov, Krasnodar, Omsk, Volgograd and Astrakhan have all spoken out, demanding a review of immigration policy.

Experts say the situation surrounding the flow of immigrants in the regions has long been a problem, and the conflict that flared up in Moscow has merely served to stoke the mood of dissatisfied Russians.

On Oct. 14, against the backdrop of the interethnic conflict in Moscow’s district of Biryulyovo, the center of another Russian city, Saratov, was witness to a fight between local youths and immigrants from the Caucasus region that involved some 20 people. On the same day, the city was the scene of a march staged by nationalists — a sign of solidarity with Sunday’s unrest in Moscow’s Birulevo district.

In the south of the country, residents of Krasnodar also decided to support Muscovites by staging an unauthorized demonstration on Oct. 14.

However, according to Interfax, the police prevented an attempt to stage an unauthorized nationalist protest in Krasnodar; only several dozen people answered the calls posted on social networks and youth forums to meet at 7 p.m. on the city’s Teatralnaya Square in support of the residents of Moscow’s Biryulyovo district.

At the appointed hour, Krasnodar’s central square was cordoned off by police officers, who maintained control over the situation.

In addition to Saratov and Krasnodar, mass events were planned in a number of other major Russian cities — Stavropol, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Astrakhan and Tula — with young people using social networks to express their readiness to take to the streets in support of those protesting events in Birulevo.

Alexei Skopin, head of the Chair of Regional Economics and Economic Geography at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, explained that the conflict in Moscow was the last straw in the situation of absolute corruption surrounding the issuing of work permits for immigrants.

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freespeechtv freespeechtv

Published on Oct 4, 2013

Earlier this week, more than 30 undocumented youth who lived in the United States as children, as well as three of their parents, were held by authorities after they attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico at the crossing in Laredo, Texas. It is the second time in three months that undocumented immigrants have attempted to re-enter the United States through an official point of entry in an act of protest. On Monday, the activists marched across a bridge connecting Mexico to the United States wearing graduation caps and gowns, chanting “Undocumented and unafraid.”

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freespeechtv freespeechtv

Published on Oct 4, 2013

In a few weeks, the number of undocumented immigrants deported since President Obama took office will surpass two million — more than any other president. In the time since the Senate passed the immigration reform bill in July, the Department of Homeland Security deported 100,000 people. While Democratic leaders in the House introduced a sweeping new bill proposal this week, the government shutdown and federal debt ceiling have eclipsed the issue of immigration reform. Meanwhile, major protests are planned for Saturday and Tuesday to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. Dubbed a “National Day for Dignity and Respect,” events are planned Saturday in more than 100 cities nationwide.

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Obama- willing to work with House on immigration reform

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 | Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:31pm EDT

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he could support the House of Representatives taking a piece-by-piece approach to changing immigration policy as long as key elements such as a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants were included.

The White House had hoped a broad bill to reform immigration rules would be the president’s signature achievement this year, but the effort has stalled in the House after passing with bipartisan support in the Senate.

In an interview with Noticias Telemundo, Obama said he could back efforts in the House to advance elements of immigration reform one at a time – rather than all at once as the Senate did – as long as all of his priorities were part of the outcome.

“I’m happy to let the House work its will as long as the bill that ends up on my desk speaks to the central issues that have to be resolved,” he said, citing his priorities of stronger border security, penalties for employers who take advantage of undocumented workers, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

“If those elements are contained in a bill, whether they come through the House a little bit at a time or they come in one fell swoop … I’m less concerned about process, I’m more interested in making sure it gets done,” he said.

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Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves’

Exclusive: Abuse and exploitation of migrant workers preparing emirate for 2022

World Cup construction ‘will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead’
Analysis: Qatar 2022 puts Fifa’s reputation on the line

Link to video: Qatar: the migrant workers forced to work for no pay in World Cup host country

grieving parents Nepal Dalli Kahtri and her husband, Lil Man, hold photos of their sons, both of whom died while working as migrants in Malaysia and Qatar. Their younger son (foreground photo) died in Qatar from a heart attack, aged 20. Photograph: Peter Pattison/guardian.co.uk

Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.

According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents.

The investigation also reveals:

Evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.

• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.

• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.

• Some labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.

• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment.

The allegations suggest a chain of exploitation leading from poor Nepalese villages to Qatari leaders. The overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world’s most popular sporting tournament.

“We’d like to leave, but the company won’t let us,” said one Nepalese migrant employed at Lusail City development, a $45bn (£28bn) city being built from scratch which will include the 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. “I’m angry about how this company is treating us, but we’re helpless. I regret coming here, but what to do? We were compelled to come just to make a living, but we’ve had no luck.”

The body tasked with organizing the World Cup, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, told the Guardian that work had yet to begin on projects directly related to the World Cup. However, it said it was “deeply concerned with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City’s construction site and considers this issue to be of the utmost seriousness”. It added: “We have been informed that the relevant government authorities are conducting an investigation into the allegations.”

The Guardian’s investigation also found men throughout the wider Qatari construction industry sleeping 12 to a room in places and getting sick through repulsive conditions in filthy hostels. Some say they have been forced to work without pay and left begging for food.

“We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours’ work and then no food all night,” said Ram Kumar Mahara, 27. “When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of the labour camp I lived in and refused to pay me anything. I had to beg for food from other workers.”

Almost all migrant workers have huge debts from Nepal, accrued in order to pay recruitment agents for their jobs. The obligation to repay these debts, combined with the non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their place of work, constitute forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery estimated to affect up to 21 million people across the globe. So entrenched is this exploitation that the Nepalese ambassador to Qatar, Maya Kumari Sharma, recently described the emirate as an “open jail”.

Nepal embassy record Record of deaths in July 2013, from all causes, held by the Nepalese embassy in Doha. Photograph: /guardian.co.uk

“The evidence uncovered by the Guardian is clear proof of the use of systematic forced labour in Qatar,” said Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, which was founded in 1839. “In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable workers go beyond forced labour to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects. There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labour. It is already happening.”

Qatar has the highest ratio of migrant workers to domestic population in the world: more than 90% of the workforce are immigrants and the country is expected to recruit up to 1.5 million more labourers to build the stadiums, roads, ports and hotels needed for the tournament. Nepalese account for about 40% of migrant labourers in Qatar. More than 100,000 Nepalese left for the emirate last year.

The murky system of recruitment brokers in Asia and labour contractors in Qatar leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. The supreme committee has insisted that decent labour standards will be set for all World Cup contracts, but underneath it a complex web of project managers, construction firms and labour suppliers, employment contractors and recruitment agents operate.

Read More here

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Qatar World Cup ‘slaves': the official response

The company behind the Lusail City development, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee and the labour ministry respond to allegations of worker exploitation

Lusail Real Estate Development Company:

Lusail City will not tolerate breaches of labour or health and safety law. We continually instruct our contractors and their subcontractors of our expectations and their contractual obligations to both us and individual employees.

We are extremely concerned at the allegations highlighted to us. Lusail employs, directly and via subcontractors, over 20,000 people. We value each employee.

All of our subcontractors are legally obliged to meet, as a minimum, Qatar labour law. In addition, Lusail expects our subcontractors to go beyond the law in the protection of individual employees both in health & safety and labour law.

The vast majority of contractors exceed these requirements and are delivering global best practice.

The Guardian have highlighted potentially illegal activities employed by one subcontractor. We take these allegations very seriously and have referred the allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Based on this investigation, we will take appropriate action against any individual or company who has found to have broken the law or contract with us.

A company spokesperson

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (Q22) is deeply concerned with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City’s construction site and considers this issue to be of the utmost seriousness. We have been informed that the relevant government authorities are conducting an investigation into the allegations.

While construction on work relating directly to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar has not yet commenced, we have always believed that hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar could be the catalyst for positive change, particularly for accelerating human and social development in Qatar. We firmly believe that all workers engaged on our projects, and those of the other infrastructure developers in Qatar, have a right to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their wellbeing, safety, security, and dignity. This is our top priority as we begin to deliver on the promises made in our bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

The Qatar 2022 Workers’ Charter is available to the public and is provided to all of our potential contractors. Q22’s Workers’ Charter is just the first step in our overall strategy for improving workers’ welfare in Qatar.

Clauses protecting the rights of workers on Q22 projects will be enshrined in our contracts and will supplement all relevant Qatari laws by taking additional steps that Q22 has identified in order to enhance the welfare of our workers. We are driven by transparency in setting up our standards, which will include a robust enforcement and monitoring mechanism.

We are working with international NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. We also maintain an open channel of dialogue with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on these issues, via close consultation with the Ministry of Labour and other relevant government agencies.

Q22 is also working with Qatar’s Human Rights Co-ordination Committee (QHRCC) which consists of representatives from Q22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour, Qatar Foundation for Human Trafficking, Qatar Foundation for Child and Women Protection, the Follow up and Search Unit of the Ministry of Interior, and the National Human Rights Committee. We are committed with the government to address these issues.

Answers to the Guardian’s questions to the Qatar labour ministry

Are the authorities aware of the numbers of Nepalese dying on their construction sites?

According to article 48 of Qatar Labour Law, No.14 of 2004: “The employer shall record injuries incurred by any of its employees.”

According to article 108 of Qatar Labour Law, No.14 of 2004: “If the worker dies while on duty or because of the work or sustains a work injury the employer or his representative shall immediately notify the police and the department of the incident.

“The notification shall include the name, age, profession, address and nationality of the worker and a brief description of the incident, the circumstance where it took place and the actions taken for aiding or curing the worker.

“The police shall upon receipt of the information undertake the necessary enquiries and the record shall contain the statements of the witnesses and the employer or his representative and the statements of the injured if his condition so permits and the record shall explain the relationship of the incident to the work.

“The police shall upon completion of the inquiry send a copy of the record to the department and a copy to the employer. The Department may require completion of the enquiry if it deems necessary.”

According to article 115 of Qatar Labour Law, No.14 of 2004: “The employer shall every six months provide the department with a statistics of the work injuries and occupational diseases in accordance with the forms prepared for this purpose and the procedures to be prescribed by a decision of the minister.

According to article 105 of Qatar Labour Law, No.14 of 2004: “The periodical medical check-ups shall be carried out on the workers exposed to the dangers of inflication with the vocational diseases in all activities of the work at intervals appropriate to the hazards involved in the work in accordance with the measures to be specified by the competent authorities specifying the types of such check-ups and the intervals in which they shall be carried out.

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Azfar Khan of the International Labour Organisation on Qatar and the World Cup

TheGuardian TheGuardian

Published on Sep 27, 2013

Azfar Khan of the International Labour Organisation on Qatar and the World Cup
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Azfar Khan, the ILO’s senior labour migration adviser in the Arab states, tells the Guardian that Qatar is failing to fully implement an international convention banning the use of forced labour ahead of the 2022 football World Cup

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Obama’s Top Official Pushing Tar Sands in Secret Trade Deal

Trade rep. advocates for dirty oil industry against EU’s already-insufficient regs despite Obama’s promises to cut carbon

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman confirmed by President Obama in May 2013 (Photo: AP)

As President Obama publicly promises to curb carbon emissions, his top trade official is pushing for tar sands industry handouts and influence in the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, launching attacks on EU tar sands regulations that green groups say are already too insufficient.

“The U.S. has no business rolling back any kind of protection from the world’s dirtiest oil at a time when we’re supposed to be making progress on climate,” Eddie Scher of the Sierra Club told Common Dreams.

Questioned before the House Ways and Means Committee in late July, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman railed against a proposed change to the EU Fuel Quality Directive that requires a 6 percent reduction in gas and diesel emissions by 2020. The ammendment under question would label bitumen—oil extracted from tar sands—as a high-emissions diesel, a rating that would ‘discourage‘ but not prevent EU fuel suppliers from buying tar sands oil.

Environmental groups say that the regulation that Froman is attempting to gut is already grossly insufficient. “The regulation is not really doing anything,” Scott Parkin of Rainforest Action Network told Common Dreams. “It’s just saying tar sands should be called something different. We are saying that tar sands need to stay in the ground. Period.”

Yet, Froman charges this so-called regulation goes too far. When Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) claimed the proposed regulations are “discriminatory, environmentally unjustified and could constitute a barrier to U.S.-EU trade,” Froman stated, “I share your concerns.”

“I have raised these issues with senior Commission officials on several occasions, including in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP),” he wrote in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee. “We continue to press the Commission to take the views of stakeholders, including U.S. refiners, under considerations as they finalize these amendments.”

Obama’s trade official is publicly advocating for the tar sands oil industry despite the president’s June speech in which he declared he would cut carbon emissions and only approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Green groups, who say the oil pipeline would increase carbon emissions by definition, are organizing a mounting campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands extraction. So far, 75,000 people have pledged to commit civil disobedience if the president approves the pipeline.Protest against tar sands extraction in London in 2009. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Eugenio hidden side) Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline demonstrate in front of the White House in 2011. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Michael Froman, Top U.S. Trade Official, Lobbies For Tar Sands Oil In EU Negotiations

Posted: 09/24/2013 5:50 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/25/2013 5:12 pm EDT

Building the Keystone XL pipeline is only part of the equation. Once the Canadian tar sands are pumped and piped to refineries on the Gulf Coast, the industry still needs to find buyers for its end product — much of which will be exported.

That’s where U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman comes in.

Environmental groups in the U.S. and the European Union are worried that Froman, the chief trade official for the United States, has been quietly working to pressure the EU to make it easier for U.S. refiners to sell oil from the tar sands on the European market. They say Froman is pushing his EU counterparts to weaken environmental guidelines related to greenhouse gas emissions in order to facilitate easier oil exports.

The European Commission has set an overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. One measure aimed at meeting that goal is the Fuel Quality Directive, which requires a 6 percent reduction in emissions from transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel by 2020. A proposal currently under consideration to help achieve that goal would assign values to different types of fuel based on the emissions they generate. The proposal assigns a higher value to bitumen, a type of oil extracted from tar sands that has 12 to 40 percent higher lifecycle emissions than conventional types of crude oil.

Fuel suppliers in the EU would still get to pick what fuels they include in their portfolio, but the rating would be used to provide guidance about what goes in the mix. Based on a recent written statement, advocacy groups are concerned that Froman may be working to weaken the fuel guidelines as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade deal that the U.S. and the European Commission are currently discussing.

Froman testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on July 18, and recently provided a written response to follow-up questions from the hearing. The answers were posted online last week by the trade journal Inside U.S. Trade (subscription required).

In his questions for Froman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said that he believes the Fuel Quality Directive’s guidance on tar sands oil is “discriminatory, environmentally unjustified and could constitute a barrier to U.S.-EU trade.”

“I share your concerns regarding the European Union’s development of proposals for amendments to the Fuel Quality Directive,” wrote Froman in response. In particular, Froman identified what he called a “lack of adequate transparency and public participation in the process” and said that the U.S. is seeking “improvements in the EU’s overall regulatory practices” through the TTIP process.

“We continue to press the Commission to take the views of stakeholders, including U.S. refiners, under consideration as they finalize these amendments,” Froman wrote.

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With the fate of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline still in the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama five years on, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a crowd of business leaders gathered in New York that he will not take no for an answer.

Harper, who participated in a question and answer session with the Canadian American Business Council on the second day of his visit to New York Thursday afternoon, said “my view is you don’t take no for an answer.”

“We haven’t had that but if we were to get that, that won’t be final. This won’t be final until it’s approved and we will keep pushing forward,” Harper said.

The event was moderated by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Asked by Bartiromo when he last spoke to Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline, Harper said he has been in touch with the U.S. president “very regularly” on the matter.

“The president has always assured me that he’ll make a decision that’s in, what he believes is, the best interest of the United States based on the facts. I think the facts are clear, ” Harper said.

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