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Qatar Crisis: Fatalism of Nepali migrant workers

Sapana Phuyal Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 5999 reads

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What happens to Nepali workers after Saudi-bloc severed ties with Qatar? The questions are being raised.
“Saudi-led bloc could take further action against Qatar by imposing conditions on trade partners that include asking them to choose between them or Doha”.
Then what will be the next step for Nepal? Qatar-Gulf crisis is the issue of power led bloc for the Gulf region and America. But the impasse will create a quandary on us choosing a particular side of the Gulf country. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar have shared about 25 percent of our GDP, so being in one alliance will never be good for us.
Remittance is the major source for our national economy. According to the Nepal Rastra Bank "Last year, the remittance we received from Qatar was Rs. 76.54 billion, Rs. 62.79 billion from Saudi Arabia, Rs 17.34 billion from the UAE".
On June 05, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar. They accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”, while Qatar rejected the allegation. Comoros, Eritrea, Maldives, Mauritania, Libya, Senegal and Yemen also followed. Whereas Chad, Djibouti, Jordan, and Niger downgraded their diplomatic ties with Qatar.
But, France, Iran, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, USA and UK offered mediation to the Gulf region.
The USA seems in a dual position. President Trump’s tweets state that the USA had provoked Saudi Arabia against Qatar. Last week, the Saudi-led bloc issued 13-point demand list in exchange for the end of the anti-Qatar movements. The demands included Qatar to shut down the AL-Jazeera network, scale down ties with Iran, close a Turkish military base, etc.
At this stage, the crisis among the Gulf countries is very unlikely to solve in short term. It is unsure how long the land, air and sea boundary will be closed. Qatar crisis effect has already seen in Qatari Markets. The price of local foods: rice and vegetables are increasing as compared before to the crisis.
About 4 million Nepali migrant workers are working in Qatar. The Qatar-gulf crisis isn't a merry for us.
Nepal has good relations with all the Arab countries. Our workers share a large presence there. Nepal ties bilateral relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members since 1977 AD. Nepal and Bahrain ties in diplomatic relation in 1977 January 13, Oman and Qatar on January 21, and the UAE the following day. Saudi Arabia ties in relation with Nepal on March 15, 1977.
Our image of honest and hardworking worker have increased the demand of Nepali workers in Qatar. AFP stated, “Nepal exports iron and steel, carpets, some vegetable- but Mainly, Nepal exports men. It even advertises them.” It sounds peculiar, but fate our youths based on this reality. Every day, about 1500 youths depart for the Gulf in search of certainty in life. Even we cannot neglect every day 5 people have been returning in the coffin. In total, 5,000 workers have died working abroad since 2008.
Currently, the newspaper headlines the news of Nepali workers stranded at the border of Qatar and Saudi without food and water.
Nepal government should assess the situation of Nepali migrant workers. To avoid precarious situation the government have to cope with the hurdles of our youths in an operative way. It is necessary to work to deal with possible challenges how Qatar diplomatic crisis can affect Nepal.
Sapana Phuyal is a Sr. Correspondent for AP1 HD
Cover Photo File: Globalpressjournal

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