Qatar’s migrant workers demand compensation ahead of World Cup: HRW

Cairo, Nov 17 (EFE).- Migrant workers have called on FIFA and Qatar to pay them compensation for the labor exploitation and human rights violations they faced while building the necessary infrastructure for the upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported Thursday.

In a statement, the group said it had released a five-minute video in which Nepali workers, their family members and soccer fans explain what they had experienced in the past 12 years in the Gulf nation.

Titled Workers, Families Speak Out as World Cup Nears, the statement highlights various cases of abuse ranging from “wage theft” to “injuries” and “thousands of unexplained deaths.”

“Many migrant workers, their families and communities are not able to fully celebrate what they have built, and are calling on FIFA and Qatar to remedy abuses of workers that have left families and communities destitute and struggling,” HRW senior researcher Rothna Begum said.

They “were indispensable to making the World Cup 2022 possible, but it has come at great cost for many migrant workers and their families who not only made personal sacrifices, but also faced widespread wage theft, injuries, and thousands of unexplained deaths,” Begum added.

Some of the workers who spoke out in the video have decided to change their names to protect their identities over a fear of retaliation because they still live in Qatar.

The watchdog said migrant workers endured poor conditions and overcrowded accommodations while constructing the multi-billion state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Most of the low-paid migrant workers “paid to build” Qatar 2022, it added.

Despite reforms introduced by Qatar to protect workers and address the “kafala” system, which prevented workers from changing jobs without their employer’s consent among other things, HRW detailed that many workers still did not get benefits.

According to the group, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said the government has paid out $320 million to unpaid workers through a fund, which only started operating in 2020. EFE


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