These Videos Show Just How Bad The Qatar World Cup Is For Workers
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Amnesty International published two new videos that show in gruesome detail the true nature of conditions for migrant workers working on the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The Qatar World Cup is set to be held in the winter, and has been subject of criticisms from almost every angle imaginable.
The bidding for Qatar 2022 is under investigation for possibly being fixed and the fact that it is taking place during the winter has attracted the criticism of several football associations who feel that it will interfere with the regular league season. However, those criticisms pale in comparison with the human rights issues that have surrounded the preparations for the tournament.
Migrant laborers, mostly from Asia, who have been recruited to build up the infrastructure for the World Cup have been subjected to a variety of abuses at the hands of the recruitment companies that bring them to Qatar.
Reports conducted by the International Labor Organization found that many workers had their passports confiscated and had not seen any wages for months. The kafala (sponsorship) system that is in place in Qatar also forces workers to obtain permission from their Qatari sponsor in order to change jobs or go home, a balance of power between employer and employee which essentially equates to slavery.
As a result, many workers end up stranded, deep in debt due to initial recruitment fees and a lack of wages, and without a passport to return home. This, combined with squalid living conditions has prompted the ILO to give Qatar an ultimatum. They have 12 months to reform the migrant labor system or they face a UN investigation, which would make them only the fifth country to face such an inquiry.
It is worth saying that not all of these atrocities are directly connected with the Qatar 2022 World Cup, as Qatar were already in a construction boom before they were awarded the World Cup. They have also pledged to do away with the kafala system and have started creating improved accommodation for laborers. Yet, as Amnesty researcher Mostafa Qadri says, "Fundamentally, the situation has not changed."
If Qatar 2022 does become the subject of a UN investigation, they could impose sanctions if nothing has changed. That would put a lot of pressure on FIFA, who have already taken heat for their indifference, to pull the competition from Qatar.
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