Squalid, overcrowded accommodation. Brutally long days working in the blistering heat. Regular abuses of rights such as having passports withheld or being lied to about the nature of promised work. (1)
This is the everyday reality for migrant workers in Qatar helping to bring us the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Worse still, recent reports show that workers from Nepal and India are dying in record numbers on Qatari construction sites since the country won its World Cup bid. (2)
FIFA has pledged to do more to improve the “unacceptable” situation for workers on World Cup-related projects, but these words have yet to be followed by action. (3)
Call on FIFA to take responsibility for awarding the World Cup to a country with historic issues of worker exploitation and forced labour. FIFA President Sepp Blatter must use his influence over World Cup organisers to ensure all future World Cups are slavery free, including Qatar as a top priority.
- Call for an end to the exploitative kafala system in its current form in Qatar, specifically by allowing workers to freely change jobs and leave the country without their employer’s permission.
- Demand that fundamental labour rights are protected as a requirement for countries to be selected to host World Cups.
- Call on the Qatar 2022 organising authorities to establish a complaints mechanism that allows migrant workers to report abuses and secure justice.
While I was pleased to hear that FIFA has pledged to help improve the “unacceptable” situation for workers in Qatar, these words must now be followed by action.
FIFA should capitalize on the influence currently held with Qatar to ensure the 2022 World Cup is free of slave labour by:
- Calling on the Qatar authorities to end the exploitative kafala system in its current form, specifically by allowing workers to freely change employers or leave the country without their employer’s consent.
- Requiring all future FIFA World Cup hosts, including Qatar, to comply with fundamental labour rights and that all associated contracts for service, procurement and construction adhere to the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code.
- Calling on the Qatar 2022 World Cup organising authorities to install an independent complaints and remediation mechanism to enable workers to report any violations of their rights, collaborating with unions and other relevant organisations to ensure that workers have the ability to access this system individually and collectively.