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Change the location of the '18 Ibrik, Brewers, Cup Tasters, and Roasting Championships

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Today, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) announced the locations of the 2018 Cezve/Ibrik Championship, the World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters Championship, and World Coffee Roasting Championship will be held in Dubai, which belongs to the United Arab Emirates. This is a series of events meant to bring the best coffee brewers, makers, and tasters to one stage to test their skills and celebrate their hard work and dedication to the craft of coffee. 

You can read a full press release here. As outlined by Sprudge, a leading coffee publication, the choice of these locations is problematic because of the use of slave labor and the legal restrictions placed on gay and transgender individuals. 

The Sprudge article breaks down both issues individually. First, slave labor: 

First, slavery. The kafala sponsorship system, which operates in all Gulf Cooperation States, has come increasingly under scrutiny as preparations are made for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. News organizations including the BBC, The Guardian, Deadspin and the New York Times have extensively profiled the extent to which slave labor is used in major construction projects in the Gulf States, and organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the kafala system as modern-day slavery. Kafala practices are very much alive and well in today’s Dubai, and are just the tip of the iceberg for the country’s troubling human rights record—what the New York Times earlier this year called “systemic human rights abuses” in Dubai.

Second, abuses against LGBTQIA individuals: 

Second, it’s essentially against the law to be gay in the United Arab Emirates. Transgender identity and homosexuality are crimes here. Consensual gay sex can result in jail time of months or even years, and sodomy is technically punishable by death in the UAE, though some claim the death penalty law has never been enforced in Dubai...

If you’re a gay national champion hoping to represent your country at the 2018 World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters or Cezve/Ibrik Championship, you should be concerned. If you are a gay volunteer, a gay judge, gay journalist, exhibitor, or potential sponsor, you should be concerned. If your company employs or supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex staff, you should be concerned. If you consider yourself an ally of LGBTIQ communities, however imperfect a term “ally” may be, you should be concerned.

If you are a Specialty Coffee Association member or employed by a Specialty Coffee Association member company, you should be concerned.

We demand that the SCA immediately pull all commitments from Dubai, pledge not to host world coffee events in the country until these injustices are rectified, and create a rigorous set of standards for host countries that include a zero-tolerance policy towards countries that condemn the rights of any citizen regardless of their identity or background. We also ask that the SCA issue an apology and statement acknowledging their misstep in this matter. 

We as a community (both within our industry and as coffee enthusiasts) are united to protect all our members. We pride ourselves as an industry that encourages inclusion and acceptance, and this decision to host not just one BUT MULTIPLE EVENTS in a country with proven and documented human rights violations is a huge step backwards. 

Please join us in showing the SCA that we do not approve. 

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