It strikes me as more than anything in the world of football that a World Cup hosting country encircled with SERIOUS accusations of human right violations.
British newspaper, the Guardian, had been on a roll as of recent disclosing regular information on worker conditions in the natural gas rich nation. From referring to the conditions of migrant workers in as “slave labor” to talking about the abuse carved from the existing “Kafala” system to daily individual stories of atrocities faced by the workers.
With these allegations Qatar has once again come under rigorous spotlight, apart from the ongoing discussions of moving the Cup to the winter months. Between June 4 and August 8, 44 migrant workers from Nepal alone had died, referring to documents obtained by the newspaper from the Nepalese Embassy in Doha. The reasons – attributed to heart problems and accidents in the workplace. Also inclusive were the long hours and ghastly temperatures they have to work in.
The news had also taken to the social networks by storm. Below are a few headlines that made its rounds on Twitter.
Indeed, these are some serious accusations that the Qatar World Cup bidding team needs to look into especially considering the fact that there were two “reported” fatalities at the 2010 stadium construction sites and a few reported in Brazil and Russia’s construction sites.
The fatality rate in the construction industry is around 20 per 100,000 workers, according to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).
The civilized world has been in agreement on that for quite some time now. Worker conditions in the Middle East have long been loathed by various human rights groups. Statements from the Qatar 2022 team suggest that they are on it releasing the below:
“We firmly believe that all workers engaged on our projects, and those of the other infrastructure developers in Qatar, have a right to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their wellbeing, safety, security, and dignity.
“This is our top priority as we begin to deliver on the promises made in our bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.”
Like most people, I hold critical concerns about the conditions of the migrant workers, not just in Qatar but in the entire Middle East. I must say, surely, let us not fool ourselves by pretending that FIFA will ever consider taking the lead on this matter. The truth is that Qatar is the only nation with the means, to crack down on these allegations and change the perception that it carries among its Western interests.