Qatar 2022 has responded to the latest critical report surrounding conditions for migrant workers involved in the nation’s huge infrastructure development leading in to the FIFA World Cup by stating they are formalising welfare standards that contractors must implement.
Alleged human rights abuses have been a long-running concern since Qatar won the right to host the tournament and the debate was reopened on Sunday following the publication of a report by Amnesty International. The report concerned complex contractual chains and revealed widespread and routine abuse of migrant workers – in some cases amounting to forced labour.
Following talks about the report, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee on Monday said it informed Amnesty about the development of a worker welfare committee, and plans to publish workers’ welfare standards by next month. The organising body for the delivery of the World Cup added that standards will be in-line with Qatari law and international best practices and “set clear guidelines from recruitment to repatriation”. Qatar 2022 said in a statement: “Compliance with the law and Q22’s standards will be a contractual obligation for companies working on Q22 projects and will be transparently and robustly monitored through a three-tier compliance and auditing structure… The responsibility for the welfare of workers is shared by all parties involved in the chain of contracting including the government of Qatar, the governments of sending countries, recruitment agencies and the companies that utilise them.”
A Deloitte report in July stated that Qatar is set to invest over US$200 billion in wide-ranging construction projects ahead of the World Cup. Amnesty’s report, based on interviews with workers, employers and government officials, documents a range of abuses against migrant workers. These include non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and “shocking” standards of accommodation. Researchers also met dozens of construction workers who were prevented from leaving the country for many months by their employers – leaving them trapped in Qatar. Amnesty is calling on FIFA to work with the Qatari authorities and World Cup organisers as a matter of priority to prevent abuses. Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, said: “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. Qatar is recruiting migrant workers at a remarkable rate to support its construction boom, with the population increasing at 20 people an hour. 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.”