Rights group says two employees ‘missing’ in Qatar

GNRD says the employees checked out of their hotel but never boarded their flight

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Two employees of a human rights organization investigating the situation of migrant workers in Qatar are missing, according to a statement Wednesday from the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD).

The Norway-based rights group said Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev, both British nationals, were sent to Doha on August 27 and were scheduled to fly to Norway on the morning of August 31.

Ala Abu Dakka, program manager at GNRD, said in a statement to Al Arabiya news that “according to the British Embassy, they checked out of the hotel but never boarded the flight.”

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Doha who asked not to be named told Al Arabiya News that the report of Upadhyaya and Gundev’s disappearance is being investigated, but declined to comment further.

Qatar came under heavy criticism early this year over reported violations of the rights of migrants workers building 2022 World Cup projects.

“Mr. Upadhyaya contacted our management the evening of the 30th to report that he was being followed and harassed by police; the morning of the 31st he was being monitored by uniformed and undercover authorities,” Abu Dakka said.

Abu Dakka indicated that the two researchers were “working from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, because there are premises (centre) for the Nepalese migrant workers at the embassy, where our colleagues carried out their interviews with migrants from Nepal.

“GNRD is continuing its work on the migrant crisis in Qatar; the new report is focusing on what has been changed since the achieved EP [European Parliament] resolution on Qatar and the promises of the Qatari authorities of change and reforms on their labor laws.”

GNRD said on its website that “Mr. Upadhyaya checked out from the hotel but chose to remain in the reception, feeling too unsafe to leave the hotel premises for the airport. Mr. Upadhyaya expressed alarm at the number of police in the vicinity, and noticed undercover authorities who came extremely close to him whenever he spoke on the phone.”

Abu Dakka said: “GNRD is currently requesting immediate cooperation from Qatari authorities to fully disclose the whereabouts and current situation of both employees.

“We are also in contact with all relevant Foreign Ministries and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and are attempting to secure their return as quickly as possible.”