Gulf diplomatic crisis: Indians workers stranded in Saudi Arabia as Qatari bosses forced to leave Riyadh

Asian migrants working are stranded in Saudi Arabia — potentially illegally — after their Qatari bosses were ordered out of the kingdom, a rights group said

AFP June 29, 2017 08:01:26 IST
Gulf diplomatic crisis: Indians workers stranded in Saudi Arabia as Qatari bosses forced to leave Riyadh

Doha: Asian migrants working as domestic staff and farmers are stranded in Saudi Arabia — potentially illegally — after their Qatari bosses were ordered out of the kingdom, a rights group said on Thursday.

The workers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal have been left without accommodation and money, said the head of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee.

"There are a lot of migrant workers affected by this decision," said committee chairman Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri.

Many of those affected were farmers who drive livestock between the two countries, said Marri.

"Usually the workers travel with Qataris — many Qataris employ farmers and travel with their domestic workers and drivers," he told a news conference.

"The workers were not allowed to travel into Qatar and now they are living illegally in Saudi Arabia and do not have basic needs.

"They have no shelter and cannot access money."

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced they were suspending all ties with Qatar over accusations that the emirate supports extremist groups — a claim Doha denies.

The four states closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and sealed off the emirate's only land border with Saudi Arabia, a vital route for its food imports.

They also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home.

Qatar uses a sponsorship system which ties workers to their employer. It was not immediately clear why the workers were left behind and why they did not have the right papers to return.

Some 12,000 camels and sheep are reportedly being forced to trek back to Qatar from Saudi Arabia because of the crisis.

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