CAIRO: Qatar has done “almost nothing” to address its “appalling” labor standards in the five years since it was awarded the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International stated Tuesday.
“Too little has been done to address rampant migrant labour abuse. Qatar’s persistent labour reform delays are a recipe for human rights disaster,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.
Amnesty blasted FIFA for its choice of venue, stating, “It knew there were labor rights issues in Qatar. It must work closely with the Qatari authorities and business partners to ensure the World Cup is not built on exploitation.”
Under the Qatari “kafala” system, workers must obtain their employers consent to change jobs or leave the country, leaving many vulnerable to exploitation. Amnesty stated that Qatar has yet to address key issues identified in a 2014 visit for the country’s estimated 2-million strong migrant worker population, including paying wages on time and establishing a labor inspection force.
Former FIFA head Sepp Blatter resigned in June 2015, amid accusations of corruption and bribery related to the selection of Qatar, where astronomic summer temperatures alone can make the sport arduous to play.
“FIFA has bent over backwards to make a Qatar World Cup work, even taking the unprecedented step of moving the tournament from summer to winter. But apart from occasional public statements the organization has not set any clear, concrete agenda for how it will push Qatar to ensure migrant workers’ rights are respected,” said Qadri.
“FIFA may be moving to new leadership in 2016, but it will not be able to get past its current challenges until it makes it clear that Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is contingent on respect for human rights.”