"One construction worker a day dies as Qatar seeks to build facilities for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. That’s the finding of The Guardian newspaper, which characterizes the conditions facing migrant workers in the country as “slave labor.”
Qatar, along with other Gulf nations, uses the so-called “kafala” system, under which each foreign worker hired to in the country needs a “sponsor,” usually their employer. Permission from the sponsor is needed to enter or leave country, or to change jobs. The company is also responsible for issuing IDs, without which workers are reduced to the status of foreign aliens with no legal protection.
The system in practice leaves the migrant workers at the mercy of their employers, who can refuse to pay wages, withhold documents and thus leave workers stranded, force them to work long hours in hazardous conditions and exploit and abuse them in other ways.
Qatar has the highest ratio of migrant workers to domestic population, according to the nation’s cable TV network Al Jazeera. The Arab monarchy, enriched by the sale of natural gas, has a population of roughly 1.7 million, with 94 per cent believed to be foreigners, mostly unskilled workers. The country is expected to hire up to 1.5 million more laborers to build the stadiums, roads, ports and hotels needed for the 2022 tournament.
The Guardian reported Wednesday that desperate people from Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest nations, make up 40 per cent of the laborers in Qatar. Between June 4 and August 8 at least 44 of them died, the newspaper said, citing documents obtained by the Nepalese Embassy in Doha. More than half the deaths were due to heart attacks, heart failure and workplace accidents, the newspaper said.
Other evidence cited by the newspaper points to horrific conditions for migrant workers. Some said they were forced to work long hours in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius without access to drinking water. Many complained that they were not paid for months and were unable to pay off their debts to recruiting agents at home, yet alone send money back to their families.
One worker told journalists how his manager assaulted him for complaining about being forced to work on an empty stomach for an entire day. He was then kicked out of the labor camp and had to beg for food from other workers.
Some of the reports came from Lusail City development, a $45 billion city where Qatar plans to erect a 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. FIFA pledged that it will address concerns over labor rights in Qatar after giving the kingdom the right to host the World Cup.
“The evidence uncovered by the Guardian is clear proof of the use of systematic forced labor in Qatar," said Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International. "In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable workers go beyond forced labor to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects. There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labor. It is already happening.”
Qatar is to spend an estimated $100 billion on infrastructure projects to support the World Cup. As well as nine state-of-the-art stadiums, the country has committed to spend $20 billion on new roads, $4 billion for a causeway connecting Qatar to the island nation of Bahrain, $24 billion for a high-speed rail network, and 55,000 hotel rooms to accommodate visiting fans. In addition, Qatar has almost completed a new airport.
When asked for a response, the Qatari Labor Ministry said it had strict rules governing working conditions and the prompt payment of salaries.
"The ministry enforces this law through periodic inspections to ensure that workers have in fact received their wages in time,” the ministry said in a statement. “If a company does not comply with the law, the ministry applies penalties and refers the case to the judicial authorities."
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, the body tasked with organizing the World Cup, said it was "deeply concerned with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City's construction site and considers this issue to be of the utmost seriousness."
"We have been informed that the relevant government authorities are conducting an investigation into the allegations," it added.
Lusail Real Estate Company said: "Lusail City will not tolerate breaches of labor or health and safety law. We continually instruct our contractors and their subcontractors of our expectations and their contractual obligations to both us and individual employees. The Guardian have highlighted potentially illegal activities employed by one subcontractor. We take these allegations very seriously and have referred the allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Based on this investigation, we will take appropriate action against any individual or company who has found to have broken the law or contract with us."
It is truly shocking that human life is considered so cheap that one construction worker is dying each day while building facilities for a sporting event of all things.
Such appalling treatment of people must stop, modern day slavery is unacceptable.
from Walk Free and Mother Jones
to FIFA to help ensure construction for the Qatar World Cup does not use slave labour.
At one end of Kathmandu’s international airport, proud parents bid farewell to their sons leaving Nepal in search of better jobs. But the scene is very different at the arrival terminal, where wailing parents are met with the bodies of family members who died in Qatar.1
Thousands of Nepalese workers are being forced to work in 50C/122F degree heat with no access to food or water, no pay, passports held to prevent them from leaving. Experts estimate over 1 million migrant workers could be at risk of modern slavery in Qatar between now and the 2022 World Cup; an average of twelve workers could die per week2 unless action is taken at this critical stage in the construction process.
Historically, there have been serious challenges to protecting migrant workers from modern slavery in Qatar. But with the prestige of hosting the World Cup on the line, there has never been a better chance to push the Qatari government for change.
If FIFA takes advantage of this opportunity for policy reform, workers could be protected from falling into the nightmare of modern slavery in Qatar for generations to come. This could be the break we are waiting for in the entire region.
Tell FIFA to help ensure construction for the Qatar World Cup does not use slave labour.
Thanks Joanne. Signed and shared.
FIFA: Keep Slavery Out of the 2022 World Cup - The Petition Site
Society & Culture
BMutiny - thepetitionsite.com
This Petition was made and signed by Ms. Um Sor, of Lebanon.
Her English isn't quite perfect, but her heart's in the right place!
Boycott World Cup Championship 2022 in Qatar
- author: UM SOR
- target: Tamim Bin Hamad of Qatar & the FIFA
- signatures: 21
Tamim of Qatar and the FIFA, is violating Human Right's under the course of hosting this world cup 2022 activity in Qatar.
This country is too small with limited cities and little population.
They don’t have the manpower necessary for a convenient and suitable preparation for such huge event without keep on violating more and more human rights.
They can give promises, that they can’t fulfill, that they will improve workers conditions.
This human rights violation will not stop for the coming 9 years, do you believe that we must not act very seriously now, to stop something very bad, we know is happening.
Sometimes I feel as though I'm in a quagmire fighting to get to the top for air trying to make some sort of a difference signing these petitions. I can't imagine what it must be like to be on the receiving end of these human rights violations.
To: Federico Addiechi, Head of CSR, FIFA
I was shocked to learn that migrant workers in construction projects for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar may be working in conditions of modern slavery.
I urge you to take these essential steps to help ensure the Qatar World Cup is free of slave labor:
- Call on the Qatari Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022 to update contracts to meet international labor standards.
- Require that all contractors affiliated with FIFA sporting events involving large-scale construction projects be audited for cases of modern slavery as part of the initial bidding process.
- Publicly report the findings of audits for cases of modern slavery.
[Your name here]
[That's a Petition FOR FIFA, and FROM Walk Free. Sorry I goofed.] BMT
The OLD Petition to FIFA, that is above on this thread, is now CLOSED:
It got 45,746 signatures.This petition is closed
Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, declared that the abuse of migrant workers was "unacceptable" and stated that "fair working conditions with a lasting effect must be introduced quickly in Qatar."
Thank you for helping to make this success possible
So, the immediately above, IS INDEED A NEW PETITION. [It only has 23 signatures, so far!]
I guess this NEW Petition, is to make it possible to IMPLEMENT the "good wishes" of the EARLIER Petition, the one that's now closed.
So, SIGN THIS NEW ONE IF YOU'VE SIGNED THE OLD ONE. [Or if you haven't!]
Petition: FIFA: Keep Slavery out of the 2022 World Cup - signed and shared