Amnesty pressures FIFA to stay focussed on Qatar workers’ rights, despite progress made

Qatar stadium construction

March 22 – Amnesty International has called on FIFA to put more pressure on 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar to improve conditions for migrant workers.

In a four-page letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Amnesty said Qatar was at risk of slipping backwards after initiating a series of reforms since being selected to stage next year’s tournament.

“Qatar has made a number of positive reforms in recent years, partly in response to increased scrutiny after the World Cup contract was awarded,” the human rights group said in a statement.

“But too often these are not properly implemented and thousands of migrant workers continue to be exploited and abused.”

Amnesty calls on FIFA to take “urgent and concrete action” and “use the full extent of its influence” to urge Qatar to do more.

Amnesty’s letter says that FIFA “has a responsibility to ensure human rights are respected in the context of preparing for and carrying out the tournament”, noting that without the two million migrants “building the stadiums, the roads, and the metro”, Qatar’s hosting of the competition would not have been possible.

“When the tournament kicks off”, continues Amnesty’s letter, migrant workers “will be taking care of players, fans and officials in hotels, serving them in restaurants, transporting them around and providing security for venues”.

“Everyone who visits Qatar to watch or participate in the World Cup will almost certainly be looked after by migrant workers along the way.”

Responding to the claims Qatar’s Government Communications Office said that “progress is being made as quickly as possible, while ensuring it is appropriate for our labour market.”

“We believe these solutions are best found through dialogue and engagement. The government is committed to working closely with its international partners, including Amnesty.”

Infantino called for fairness in assessing Qatar’s record.

“Protection of human rights at an international level is a top priority for FIFA,” he said during a media briefing Friday following a meeting of the FIFA Council.

“We need to be fair there (in Qatar) and admit a lot of progress has happened… in the conditions of the workers. Of course more can be done everywhere, always — even in Switzerland.”

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