Qatar 2022 workers subject to human rights abuses, alleges Amnesty International

by Matthew Campelli | 31 Mar 2016

Migrants working on Qatar’s Khalifa Stadium, and its surrounding Aspire Zone, have been deceived about their working conditions, pay and subjected to abuse according to a damning report published by Amnesty International.

The global human rights campaign organisation has alleged that migrant workers – mostly arriving from south Asia to work on infrastructure for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 – had to pay recruiters between US$500 (£348, €438) and US$4,300 (£2,993, €3,771) to get a job, and then received a lower salary than they were promised.

“Workers can feel they had no choice but to accept lower wages than they were promised, poor conditions and other ill treatment because they have large loans (from recruiters) to pay off,” said the report.

Based on the responses of 234 workers Amnesty interviewed, several complained about delayed payments of salary, in some instances being months in arrears, while 108 workers complained about being forced into labour.

Other grievances logged included inadequate accommodation and the withdrawal of passports on arrival, meaning that they were not allowed to leave the country. Even in cases such as Nepalese workers asking to visit their home country to check on their families after the devastating earthquake last year, they were declined.

Amnesty has condemned the Qatari government for “being responsible for the human rights abuses occurring in the country” and observed that its “sponsorship system is at the heart of much of the most egregious labour exploitation.”

FIFA – the world footballing governing body – was also criticised for not placing any measures to ensure that workers on the World Cup infrastructure would not be exploited.

Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty said FIFA had “failed almost completely to stop the World Cup being built on human rights abuses.”

He added: “The abuse of migrant workers is a stain on the conscience of world football. Indebted, living in squalid camps in the desert, paid a pittance, the lot of migrant workers contrasts sharply to that of the top-flight footballers who will play in the stadium.

“If FIFA’s new leadership is serious about turning a page, it cannot allow its showcase global event to take place in stadiums built on the abuse of migrant workers.”

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has hit back at the findings, claiming that Amnesty’s investigation was “limited to just four companies out of more than 40 currently engaged on Khalifa International Stadium”.

“We acknowledge that Amnesty identified challenges in worker conditions existing in early 2015,” its statement added. “But as the result of the Supreme Committee’s continued enforcement and monitoring efforts, many of the issues raised had been addressed by June 2015, months before the publication of Amnesty’s report.”

For the full report click here.

Qatar  FIFA  World Cup 2022  Amnesty International 
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Migrants working on Qatar’s Khalifa Stadium, and its surrounding Aspire Zone, have been deceived about their working conditions, pay and subjected to abuse according to a damning report published by Amnesty International. The global human rights campaign organisation has alleged that migrant workers – mostly arriving from south Asia to work on infrastructure for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 – had to pay recruiters between US$500 (£348, €438) and US$4,300
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Amnesty's Salil Shetty criticised both the Qatari government and FIFA in relation to the alleged abuse
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