More than 500 Indian migrant workers have died in Qatar since January 2012, The Guardian said on February 19, “revealing for the first time the shocking scale of death toll among those building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup”.
The revelation came after The Guardian reported in January that 185 Nepalese workers had died in Qatar last year, taking the total of Nepalese workers to die to at least 382 over two years.
Squalid, overcrowded accommodation. Brutally long days working in the blistering heat. Regular abuses of rights such as having passports withheld or being lied to about the nature of promised work.
This is the everyday reality for migrant workers in Qatar helping to bring us the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Worse still, recent reports show that workers from Nepal and India are dying in record numbers on Qatari construction sites since the country won its World Cup bid.
FIFA has pledged to do more to improve the “unacceptable” situation for workers on World Cup-related projects, but these words have yet to be followed by action.
Call on FIFA to take responsibility for awarding the World Cup to a country with historic issues of worker exploitation and forced labour. FIFA President Sepp Blatter must use his influence over World Cup organisers to ensure all future World Cups are slavery free, including Qatar as a top priority.
* Call for an end to the exploitative kafala system in its current form in Qatar, specifically by allowing workers to freely change jobs and leave the country without their employer’s permission.
* Demand that fundamental labour rights are protected as a requirement for countries to be selected to host World Cups.
* Call on the Qatar 2022 organising authorities to establish a complaints mechanism that allows migrant workers to report abuses and secure justice.