World Cup 2022
Bide Majakoti knows the horror of forced labour and modern day slavery in Qatar first-hand. He travelled from Nepal on the promise of a well-paid job and paid high recruitment fees to secure it. When he arrived in Qatar he was forced to accept a different job and his nightmare with exploitation and modern slavery began.

Unfortunately, as construction for the football 2022 World Cup intensifies, more migrant construction workers will be vulnerable to forced labour and Qatar slavery than ever before. Over 90% of Qatar’s workers are foreign workers, brought to the country under kafala, the ‘sponsorship’ system. It is a worker sponsorship programme that jeopardises basic human rights of migrant workers, allowing slavery-like working conditions to flourish leaving thousands of migrant workers in Qatar vulnerable to forced labour and other human rights abuses, often without the ability to change jobs or even leave the country.

Bide was forced to do his job in terrible working conditions, in the blistering heat without safety precautions or pay. With no other option open to him, he returned home saddled with debt. While Bide ultimately left his job and returned home to tell his story, thousands of other employees never get that chance. Many others’ experiences are even worse; construction workers often have their wages withheld, are denied exit visas, are housed in dirty, unsafe conditions and forced to work long hours with little rest despite the high heat.

When the 2022 World Cup is over, there will be less eyes on Qatar and less urgency for the Qatar government to implement these crucial reforms, protect workers’ rights and freedom.

Call on the Qatari authorities to deliver on the critical reforms they promised and end forced labour. Help improve the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in Qatar.
Miriam Karmali, Freedom United

Libyan Detention Centres
“For the first three days after they caught us we had no food. We had to drink from the toilet,” said Samuel, a 42-year-old Nigerian of his experience in al-Nasr Detention Centre in Zawiyah, Libya to i. “It was so cramped, we slept sitting up,” he added.

Samuel is among tens of thousands of migrants and refugees who have been held in dire conditions in Libyan detention centers and subjected to forced labour and torture. Despite acknowledging the abhorrent abuse they face, the EU continues to support the Libyan Coast Guard to return people intercepted in the Mediterranean to Libya.

Libya’s migrant detention centers are notoriously horrendous. Guards systematically torture and abuse detainees to extort money from their friends and families abroad.

Samuel spoke of frequent beatings with metal pipes: “If I take off my T-shirt, you will see the marks,” he told i. He was only allowed to leave once his family transferred thousands of dollars for his release.
Many survivors have reported that guards force detainees to carry out unpaid manual labour.

Seventeen-year-old Mohammed from Gambia was a victim of forced labour at a centre. He had been picked up by a Libyan group on the street who demanded money from him. When he couldn’t pay, they made him work—he was not allowed to leave until he completed a year of unpaid labor.

“If you try to escape because you don’t have money, they even shoot you,”

The EU is complicit in the trafficking of people on the move in Libya. With a budget of €84.85m (around $86.32m) for the period from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023, the bloc provides capacity building for the Libyan Coast Guard as well as “strategic and operational” assistance for wider Libyan border management efforts.

[It’s] essential to continue engaging with Libyan authorities in building capacity for an effective border management system in line with core fundamental rights standards, to save lives at sea and to fight the criminal gangs that profit from irregular migration.

However, the EU’s support for the Coast Guard is leading to more people being intercepted at sea and returned to the country’s infamous detention system, where they face extreme danger.
A Reader

Bilkis Bano Case
The decision of the Gujarat government to grant remission to the 11 convicts who gangraped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots has set a bad precedent, said former Bombay High Court judge, Justice UD Salvi who had as trial judge convicted the 11 men.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, Justice Salvi said that the decision would have wide ramifications.

"A very bad precedent has been set. This is wrong, I would say. Now, convicts in other gang rape cases would seek similar reliefs," he said.

He opined that it is ironic that the State of Gujarat let the 11 men out of jail at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is urging Indians to respect women and avoid demeaning them.

Justice Salvi had conducted the trial in the rape case and had convicted the 11 men and sentenced them to life imprisonment in 2008, when he presided as a special judge over a court designated to hear CBI cases in Mumbai.

He had also acquitted 7 accused.

The conviction and sentence of 11 were upheld in May 2017 by the Bombay High Court Bench of Justices Vijaya Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar, which also convicted 7 other men who were acquitted by Justice Salvi.

The 7 men convicted by High Court were sentenced to time already served in prison.

The State has now granted remission to the 11 convicts as per its 1992 policy. However, there is another policy formulated in 2014 based on the directives of the Supreme Court, which had invalidated the 1992 policy.

He pointed out that there isn't any clarity as to how the 1992 policy is made applicable to these convicts.
The idea of punishment, the judge believes, is to make a person realise his guilt and that he has done something wrong.

Lastly, the retired judge expressed his displeasure at the 'grand welcome' given to these men on their release.

Bano was gangraped in the wake of the 2002 riots and her three-year-old-daughter was among 12 people killed by a mob in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district in Gujarat.
Narsi Benwal

“Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”
14th August “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”—Another Strategy to Fuel the Politics of Hate & Division! A day of mourning and introspection is being transformed into a day of further spawning hatred and division—people must resist it!

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government is hell-bent on weaponising its agenda of hate, by marking the 14th of August as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

Undoubtedly the tragedy of Partition shrouded the euphoria of hard-earned freedom. The Partition was an unparalleled human tragedy that has inflicted deep scars on the very soul of the nation. 75 years later it still evokes passions and a deep sense of hurt in those who directly suffered due to the tragedy and collectively too. The Partition resulted out of the confluence of Hate and political ambitions, as well as the British Colonial policy of divide and rule. Yet it was the common Indian masses that had to suffer due to the greed of a few. One should never forget the savage consequences of the tragedies of the past but the wounds of those tragedies must not be exploited to further fuel hate and division, but in fact must be treated with care, love and healing. Keeping the wounds festering, makes the body gangrenous and only leads to further withering away of the society. They do not care about the human cost of perpetuating hate. The Commemoration of “Partition Remembrance Horrors Day” on August 14 is a very subtle disguised attempt to perpetuate hate, keep the wounds festering and earn political dividends. The insanity fuelled by hate resulted in the tragic vivisection of India and along with the displacement of millions of people and massacre of a million, which also consumed the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

 The SGPC, has called for a day of remembrance of the victims of the Partition.The victims of Partition were Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, all ordinary Indians.
Dr G G Parikh,
Medha Patkar, and many others.

No Wage
Workers, who have been suffering because of non-payment of MGNREGA wages since 26th December 2021 have been protesting outside the Panchayat Bhawan (Block HC Plot 7 Sector III Salt Lake, Kolkata) in front of the NREGA Commissioner, West Bengal and Additional Chief Secretary, Rural Development, for quite some time.

*400 workers belonging to Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity and other members of the Right to Food and Work Campaign West Bengal were banging on empty plates, symbolic of the hunger in their families to make the government aware of their plight. They wanted to draw attention to the Central government’s callousness in not transferring funds, as well as to the uncontrolled corruption by State government officials, which in reality has led to a situation where workers have not been paid wages to the tune of over Rs 2600 crore for the past eight months.
Pramod Gupta, Kolkata

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Vol 55, No. 11, Sep 11 - 17, 2022