Factories in Jordan are epicenter of coronavirus pandemic due to negligence and ill-treatment

London – Workers in Jordanian factories are being neglected and ill-treated, charges ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies, leading to discrimination against migrants and hundreds of COVID-19 infections.

The overcrowding inside our housing, the poor health care and the negligence we were suffering were a major reason for the rapid spread of the virus among us

An infected worker

Six hundred new infections were recently recorded among migrant workers from Bengal at a garment factory in the industrial area of the Al-Dhalail region in Zarqa governorate, said the London-based think tank.

According to testimonies ImpACT received from infected workers, they were quarantined inside their houses after they showed COVID-19 symptoms, while factory management kept their health status secret. In the days before the infections were detected, about 1,500 workers in the factory had been terminated.

"The overcrowding inside our housing, the poor health care and the negligence we were suffering were a major reason for the rapid spread of the virus among us," said one of the infected workers, adding that the first COVID-19 case in the factory was identified a week ago.

The migrant workers are housed in about five buildings—two located inside the factory and three out—with more than five per room.

Despite the emergence of COVID-19 cases, the city of Zarqa has not suspended work, which ImpACT considers severe neglect of workers’ health and safety. Protective measures, such as provision of proper face masks, also are inadequate. ImpACT International calls on factory management to ensure safe working conditions and reduce overcrowding in workers’ living space.

In addition, ImpACT International calls on Jordanian authorities to monitor working conditions in factories and fulfill their obligations under international covenants and agreements. These include the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which stipulates in Article 7 that everyone has the right to fair wages; just and healthy work conditions and a decent standard of living for workers and their dependents.

In July, ImpACT International had exposed the poor working conditions in Jordanian garment factories, following the suffocation of 130 laborers who inhaled a chemical used to sterilize facilities.

Measures should be taken to preserve the health and safety of workers, stresses ImpACT International. The organization adds that the government should not allow negligence in implementing these measures.

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