During the build-up to the World Cup in Qatar, human rights organizations have raised concerns about the treatment of migrant workers. The country has recruited thousands of construction workers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Africa to help build the infrastructure for the games. They have been subject to discrimination and wage theft.
A report released by Amnesty International says migrant workers have suffered labor abuses in preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The organisation calls on FIFA to establish a financial compensation fund for workers and their families. The organisation has asked FIFA to allocate at least $440 million for this purpose. It has also urged the organisation to work closely with the Qatar government to ensure that laws on migrant workers are in line with international labour standards.
According to the International Labor Organization, at least three construction workers have died while building World Cup stadiums. The report does not detail the causes of these deaths, though it explains that most of them died due to excessive heat. It also says that dozens more construction workers die every year.
The Qatari government has implemented several labour reforms in recent years, but human rights advocates say these are not enough. Qatar’s kafala system gave employers too much control over workers and prevented them from changing jobs. However, a new law was passed to remove this system, but authorities have not fully implemented it. The government has failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers.
According to Amnesty International, the deaths of migrant workers have been kept secret by the Qatari government. It has also failed to conduct an investigation into the causes of a high death rate among young construction workers. The organisation has also warned that the correct number of deaths will never be known. However, the death toll of workers has significantly increased in the past two years, according to the report. Most of the deaths were attributed to “natural causes” but experts question the use of the term.
Human rights advocates have also claimed that the migrant workers were denied access to medical care and that they were locked in overcrowded camps. The camps were windowless and contained five or six workers in bunks. They had little privacy and their personal belongings were stuffed under their beds.
Amnesty International has also called on FIFA to establish a remedy fund for injured workers. FIFA has not agreed to this proposal, but four corporate partners have said that they support it. The organisation has written to FIFA’s 14 corporate partners, urging them to compensate workers and their families. Amnesty International wants to ensure that workers are given the attention they deserve after the World Cup is over. It is urging FIFA to allocate at least $440 million for migrant workers to receive financial compensation.
Several soccer players have also criticized Qatar for its human rights record. An Australian football squad released a video criticising Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers.