Amnesty International on Thursday called on the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to compensate at least $440 million for mistreated foreign workers in Qatar, the host country of the 2022 World Cup and accused of not adequately respecting their rights. Several rights groups accuse Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, especially those working in World Cup facilities and stadiums. But Doha has repeatedly denied the accusations and announced several reforms since it was chosen to organize the finals.
Amnesty International on Thursday urged the International Federation of Association Football to pay US$440 million in compensation to foreign workers mistreated in Qatar while building the 2022 World Cup stadiums.
The human rights organization’s request, which is supported by other human rights organizations, comes after repeated criticism of the FIFA Governing Body’s slow response to poor working conditions for workers who flocked to World Cup-related construction sites in the Gulf state.
“FIFA must allocate at least US$440 million to compensate for the harm suffered by the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who were victims of human rights abuses in Qatar in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup”, said Amnesty International.
According to the NGO, the amount, equivalent to the allowances for the 32 participating teams, is the minimum necessary to compensate workers and protect them from future abuses.
In particular, the organization cited unpaid wages, illegal and exorbitant recruitment fees, as well as damages caused by work accidents.
It added that since 2010, when FIFA awarded Qatar the honor of hosting the 2022 World Cup, there have been “a series of violations that have marred the preparations without FIFA demanding “the slightest improvement in working conditions”.
“The proposed amount is just a small part of the $6 billion FIFA will earn from the upcoming World Cup”, it said.
Amnesty International, however, welcomed the social reforms that Qatar has introduced since 2018 and the improvement of conditions at the official World Cup sites that began in 2014.
At the same time, however, it noted that those laws were not always respected and violations continued. The World Cup bid since 2010 has been accompanied by allegations of corruption and criticism of the Gulf state’s human rights record.
The London-based rights group urged the Swiss-Italian president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, to “work with Qatar to develop a comprehensive compensation program, with the participation of workers, trade unions, the International Labor Organization and civil society”.
In response to the statement, FIFA said in a comment received by AFP that the projects Amnesty International referred to “include a wide range of public infrastructure built since 2010 (in Qatar) and not necessarily linked to the World Cup”.
Several rights groups accuse Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, especially those working in World Cup facilities and stadiums. But Doha has repeatedly denied the accusations and announced several reforms since it was chosen to organize the finals.
In response to Amnesty International, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said it “worked tirelessly to ensure that the rights of every worker participating in Qatar’s World Cup projects were respected through dedicated teams of workers’ welfare experts, and that significant improvements were made to standards of accommodation, health and care”.