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World Cup Has Been Built on the Violation of Human Rights

A report by German broadcaster WDR recently pushed FIFA to admit for the first time that the governing soccer organization did, in fact, violate human rights standards for guest workers in Qatar, who are refurbishing the Khalifa Stadium to be used in the anticipated 2022 World Cup in Doha. The guest workers, who are from a range of foreign third-world countries including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and North Korea, are forced to live in sub-human conditions with little to no pay. According to Amnesty International, there are currently 1.7 million migrant workers in Qatar, and they comprise 90 percent of the workforce.

Doha won the bid to host the coveted World Cup games by allegedly bribing FIFA officials to the tune of $880 million.

WDR journalist Benjamin Best went undercover in Qatar in June, and broadcast video proof of the vast human rights violations he found there — and he did it on the same day that FIFA president Giani Infantino was reelected unopposed, while Infantino reportedly claimed that FIFA had become “synonymous with credibility, confidence, integrity, equality, human rights, social engagement, modernity, professionalism, and equality.”

Although FIFA had stressed that the allegations of violations of guest workers’ rights did not apply to construction sites related to the World Cup stadium, the governing football organization admitted to a breach in workers’ standards for the first time in a press release after the German news report surfaced, saying, “We are aware of reports that the company TAWASOL — a sub-contractor in the construction of the Al Bayt Stadium — has violated the standards for workers.”

“FIFA has a zero-tolerance policy on human rights violations associated with its activities. In line with international standards and our Human Rights Policy, FIFA is fully committed to human rights as evidenced through the implementation of our strategic human rights program in the past years and acknowledged by different international organizations,” the organization wrote.

FIFA has reportedly also promised to investigate the allegations made by WDR further.

“There are more than 4,000 people who died as a result of being forced to work for a long time in temperatures of 51 to 56 degrees Celcius, which is almost impossible for human beings to work in. This is a violation of human rights. It’s a violation of employees rights,” said Amjad Taha, who authored the book The Deception of the Arab Spring. He is one of several Arab journalists who were targeted and hacked as part of an extensive operation allegedly carried out by Qatar, and he has consistently spoken out against the Gulf nation’s human rights violations.

Taha said some of those workers are from North Korea. “The Qataris bring workers from North Korea; with the cooperation of the North Korean regime, they work there for free, and their salary is being given to the North Korean regime, not to the workers. They pay the North Korean regime their salary. So, the worker doesn’t even receive a salary; he just works, get a little bit of food and that’s about it.”

Nepali workers are also victims of these human rights violations, and are denied basic rights in Qatar. Taha added that there are cases of Nepali workers who have died while working in Qatar. Their bodies are shipped back to their home country without papers or an explanation for their death. “The family doesn’t know the reason he died,” Taha said, referring to a recent case of a male Nepali worker in Qatar who died while working and living in sub-human conditions to construct the World Cup arena. According to the Nepali government, 1,426 Nepali workers had passed away between 2009 and 2019 and there were reportedly 111 deaths in 2019 alone.

See also: FIFA told to consider workers' rights in World Cup expansion plan (Svensson foundation)


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