Football: A leading human rights group has warned that the construction of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s infrastructure will create “a crucible of exploitation and misery” for migrant workers.
Campaigning organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) is due to publish its World Report 2013 tomorrow, in which it will detail the problems faced by migrant workers in the Gulf state.
Issues of concern include high recruitment fees that can take years to pay off, the routine confiscation of labourers’ passports by employers and a restrictive sponsorship system, handing employers almost total control over their workers.
And, according to the Guardian, the report will state that: “Qatar has some of the most restrictive sponsorship laws in the Gulf region and forced labour and human trafficking are serious problems.
“The government has failed to address shortcomings in the legal and regulatory framework despite the initiation of many large-scale projects for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.”
Qatar was the surprise winner of a Fifa vote in 2010 to choose the 2022 host nation of the tournament, a decision that was criticised in some quarters due to the fact that temperatures in the country during June and July can reach 50 degrees Celsius.
To prepare for the World Cup, the Gulf state is set to spend billions on its infrastructure with a new airport, deepwater seaport and transport corridor in the capital Doha all planned.
In addition, the tiny country will reportedly build nine new solar-powered, air-conditioned stadiums and renovate three existing facilities.
But HRW claims that the Qatar government has not fulfilled pledges, made when Fifa awarded the World Cup to the country, to improve the conditions for those who will work on putting the infrastructure into place.
There are also concerns that Qatar’s estimated 1.2 million migrant workers, who make up 88 per cent of the country’s population, have to take part in the kafala sponsorship system, which ties them to a single
International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow said: “The World Cup in 2022 was awarded by Fifa to a country which treats workers as modern-day slaves. More workers will die building
World Cup infrastructure than players will take to the field.”
The Guardian also reports that the Qatar 2022 supreme committee said it has nearly finalised a “migrant worker charter” for all World Cup-related projects and that it will seek “the highest health and safety and worker welfare standards to the benefit of all major projects in Qatar.”