• World Cup

Amnesty International asks FIFA to act on Qatar

ESPN staff
November 17, 2013
Amnesty International ask FIFA to act

Amnesty International has called on FIFA to take a tougher stance with 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar over the "inexcusable" treatment of migrant workers and said it amounts to forced labour.

The human rights organisation has urged football's governing body to act now to prevent further abuse of workers who are subjected to poor and dangerous working conditions, given inadequate accommodation, not paid or prevented from leaving Qatar.

Amnesty said that they are exploited by sub-contractors used by the major construction companies and believes migrants building the stadia for the 2022 World Cup could be similarly mistreated.

An Amnesty report entitled "The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar's construction sector ahead of the World Cup" highlights the plight of poor immigrants in the Gulf state.

It said some are living without running water or exposed to overflowing sewage tanks and others have been threatened with deportation and loss of income. The report also features accounts of workers who had become suicidal.

Amnesty International's general secretary, Salil Shetty, said: "It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive.

"Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar. FIFA has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup.

"Many migrants arrive in Qatar full of hopes, only to have these crushed soon after they arrive. There's no time to delay -- the government must act now to end this abuse.

"Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers. Many are taking advantage of a permissive environment and lax enforcement of labour protections to exploit construction workers.

"Companies should be proactive and not just take action when abuses are drawn to their attention. Turning a blind eye to any form of exploitation is unforgivable, particularly when it is destroying people's lives and livelihoods.

"The world's spotlight will continue to shine on Qatar in the runup to the 2022 World Cup offering the government a unique chance to demonstrate on a global stage that they are serious about their commitment to human rights and can act as a role model to the rest of the region."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said last month that his organisation cannot be held accountable after reports of deaths on building sites connected to the World Cup preparations.

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