World Cup 2022: Amnesty International urges FIFA to allocate at least $440 million to compensate migrant workers in Qatar



CNN

Human rights group Amnesty International has urged FIFA to allocate at least $440 million to compensate migrant workers it says have been subjected to labor abuse in preparations for the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.

In an open letter sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Amnesty International and a select group of other human rights groups said world football’s governing body should work with Qatar “to devise a comprehensive program to ensure that all abuses of action to which FIFA has contributed are addressed”.

As six months have passed since the opening of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have not received adequate compensation, including financial compensation, for the gross labor abuses they suffered while building and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to prepare and deliver the World Cup in Qatar.” .

“FIFA must retain at least $440 million in prize money provided to teams participating in the World Cup, to be invested in funds to support the reform.”

There was widespread criticism of the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar during the preparations for the tournament.

Amnesty International says the issues, which include unsafe working conditions and long working hours, are “frequent” in the country.

The letter also stated that the Qatari authorities had “failed to investigate the causes of death of thousands of migrant workers since 2010.”

While acknowledging the progress made in protecting workers’ rights in the country, she said the help came too late and the country’s “sponsorship system” allows “unscrupulous employers to abuse migrant workers with impunity.”

“While it is too late to erase the suffering of past abuses, FIFA and Qatar can and should act to provide redress and prevent further abuses,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

“Providing compensation to the workers who gave so much to the achievement of the tournament, and taking steps to make sure such abuses do not happen again, could mark a major turning point in FIFA’s commitment to respecting human rights.”

FIFA said it welcomed Amnesty International’s recognition of labor reforms within the country, and said that it, along with Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, was “implementing an unprecedented process of due diligence” in relation to protecting workers involved in World Cup preparations.

It also said it was “currently evaluating the program proposed by Amnesty International” but that the report covered “a broad range of non-World Cup public infrastructure that has been built since 2010”.

“When companies operating in connection with the FIFA World Cup breach their obligations, FIFA and the Supreme Committee work to ensure that the error is corrected by the entity that caused the impact, usually the company that employs the worker in question,” a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement. CNN statement.

“As a result of worker welfare initiatives by the tournament organizers, countless workers have received treatment in various forms, including payment of outstanding wages, payment of recruitment fees through the SC Comprehensive Payment Scheme and other forms of compensation.

As part of the SC’s efforts to ensure recruitment fees are paid, for example, workers received a total of $22.6 million in payments in December 2021, in addition to an additional $5.7 million pledged by contractors.

“Other forms of treatment include strengthening company practices to ensure no recurrence, or punitive measures imposed by tournament organizers or the Department of Labor.”

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The Supreme Committee said in a statement that it “worked tirelessly to ensure that the rights of every worker involved in the FIFA World Cup projects in Qatar are respected.”

Qatari officials have strongly challenged accusations of labor rights abuses in previous statements.

Earlier this year, Qatar 2022 Secretary-General Hassan Al Thawadi said his country “has spent 12 years of continuous work dedicated to delivering a tournament that leaves a truly transformative social, human, economic and environmental legacy.”

In response to Amnesty International’s latest report, Qatar’s Ministry of Labor said that “labor reforms in the country will continue at a pace that ensures comprehensive and lasting change.”

“The new report undermines much of the goodwill that has been generated. Participation will always yield better results than conviction, especially when unreasonably requested.”

Earlier this month, Infantino was asked if FIFA would make any commitment to the families of people who died in preparations for the tournament.

“When it comes to building World Cup stadiums – we investigate all of these with outside entities – in fact three people have died,” he said, addressing criticism of FIFA and Qatari officials over migrant workers.

When you give work to someone, even in difficult circumstances, you give them dignity and pride. It is not charity. you do not believe.

“You don’t give something to someone and you say, ‘Okay, stay where you are. I feel good because I can give you something.'”

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to take place between November 21 and December 18 later this year.

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