Organizing committee to address working conditions at Qatar′s 2022 World Cup sites | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.11.2013
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Organizing committee to address working conditions at Qatar's 2022 World Cup sites

Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee will address concerns over the treatment of migrant workers. An Amnesty International report shed new light on working conditions as Qatar prepares for football's showpiece.

In the report, published on Sunday, Amnesty strongly condemned what it called the "ruthless exploitation" of migrant workers in Qatar, many of whom hail from South or Southeast Asian countries.

It added further stock to long-held fears of the welfare standards for laborers employed in the construction of World Cup stadiums and infrastructure, and prompted calls for FIFA to take action.

Amnesty's findings include a failure to pay wages to 70 laborers from Nepal, Sri Lanka and other countries for up to 10 months, a high-rate of on-site accidents, and a "significant' mortality rate.

There are also concerns over the ignoring of a ban on working outside during the scorching summer months and the standard of living conditions for many laborers.

"Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers," Shetty said. "Many are taking advantage of a permissive environment and lax enforcement of labor protections to exploit construction workers."

The tournament's organizing committee discussed the report soon after its release, informing Amnesty that a worker welfare committee would be formed in an effort to quash the exploitation of laborers. It plans to set clear guidelines on conditions by the end of the year, with compliance a contractual obligation for companies working on World Cup projects.

"Compliance with the law and Q22's standards will be a contractual obligation for companies working on Q22 projects and will be transparently and robustly monitored through a three-tier compliance and auditing structure," the committee announced in a statement on Monday.

FIFA issues response

Amnesty's report was made public eight days after FIFA President Sepp Blatter visited the Gulf nation. Blatter said at the time that he was confident the issue of working conditions was being addressed.

On Monday, FIFA issued a statement on its stance in the matter: "FIFA has made very clear ... that it upholds respect for human rights and the application of international norms of behavior as a principle and part of all our activities."

Others took a tougher line. German trade union chief Michael Sommer, also president of the International Trade Union Confederation, called on FIFA to take the 2022 World Cup from Qatar unless "an immediate end to forced labor conditions" was made.

Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, said countries that had concerns over the welfare of workers in Qatar "should boycott the event."

ph/mkg (AFP, AP)