At least 6,500 workers have died building Qatar’s World Cup

Because the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer match, the toll on the largely migrant workers building its venues and associated infrastructure is rising. Based on a new report from The Guardian, greater than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar because it was chosen to host subsequent 12 months’s World Cup again in 2010.

Resulting from inconsistent and imprecise information, it’s troublesome to know precisely what number of of those deaths are straight linked to tasks being constructed for the soccer match, however the report attracts a transparent relationship between Qatar’s World Cup building spree and a labor rights system that places migrants in danger.

“The numbers of deaths revealed by The Guardian are deeply alarming and additional elevate fears that migrant workers are paying the best worth on this match,” says Might Romanos, a Persian Gulf area researcher at Amnesty Worldwide. “It was clear from the start that there’s a want for Qatar to strengthen its occupational well being and security requirements in addition to safety mechanisms in order that we don’t find yourself with the unhappy actuality of 1000’s of migrant workers dropping their lives to ensure that the nation to host this World Cup.”

A lot of the development work is concentrated in and across the capital metropolis, Doha, with a complete of seven new stadiums, resorts, a brand new airport, and important highway and transit infrastructure being constructed forward of the match’s begin in November 2022. These tasks rely closely on migrant workers who’ve come to Qatar on typically exploitative and low-paying work contracts that push workers within the area’s excessive local weather and restrict their rights. Coming largely from poor nations, workers had been lured unknowingly right into a labor system through which migrant workers couldn’t go away the nation or change jobs with out their employer’s permission. Some have even been tricked into paying to be recruited for this work and having their passports confiscated by employers upon arrival. The 6,500 deaths tallied by The Guardian solely account for workers from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, however with numerous migrant workers coming from nations resembling Kenya and the Philippines, the true dying toll is probably going a lot increased.


A stadium development web site in Doha, circa 2019. [Photo: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images]

Solely 37 of these deaths are straight linked to development at World Cup stadiums, based on The Guardian‘s reporting, and most of them are labeled as “non-work associated.” However these classifications obscure the grim realities behind lots of the deaths at development websites and past, based on Romanos.

“The shortage of transparency surrounding this difficulty—particularly that almost all deaths are typically reported as ‘pure causes’ or ‘cardiac arrest’ with out correct investigations and autopsies carried to find out the actual reason for dying—makes it very troublesome to get the total image,” she says.

Romanos additionally notes that solely 2% of migrant workers in Qatar work straight on World Cup tasks, resembling stadiums, qualifying them for increased labor requirements and protections, whereas others engaged on ancillary tasks are left largely unprotected. “We imagine that each one migrant workers, together with those that constructed the roads, metro, resorts, and the infrastructure wanted, performed a significant function in making this World Cup doable for Qatar,” she says. “All measures needs to be taken to guard each single certainly one of them from the chance of dying and exploitation.”

The plight of workers building Qatar’s World Cup has been well-known for years, with many workers housed in overcrowded group dorms, working long hours, and going through delayed or unpaid wages. These situations—and their inescapable connections to the worldwide structure and design business—have been dropped at worldwide consideration again in 2014 once they have been addressed by architect Zaha Hadid, the designer of one of many essential stadiums for use within the match. “It’s not my obligation as an architect to take a look at it. I can’t do something about it as a result of I have no energy to do something about it,” she mentioned, highlighting the advanced nature of this kind of megadevelopment. She additionally famous that none of the deaths occurred on the stadium her agency designed. “I feel that’s a difficulty the federal government—if there’s an issue—ought to choose up. Hopefully, this stuff will probably be resolved.”

In November, Amnesty Worldwide launched its personal report on the working situations of the roughly 2 million migrant workers in Qatar, and although a few of the most egregious situations are altering, a lot remains to be to be resolved. Qatar has made commitments to enhancing situations there, making a partnership in 2017 with the Worldwide Labor Group to carry its labor legal guidelines as much as worldwide requirements. In 2020 it fully eradicated the authorized requirement for workers to acquire their employer’s permission to depart the nation or change jobs and instituted a compulsory minimal wage for all migrant workers, although that wage begins at simply $275 a month.

Romanos says that is essential progress, however that the reforms stay weakly applied and enforced. With greater than a 12 months and a half to go earlier than the World Cup, the already excessive dying toll amongst migrant workers is more likely to hold rising.

“Qatar should guarantee full implementation and enforcement of the reforms launched thus far, get critical about holding abusive employers to account, and take motion to handle main weaknesses in key areas together with the cost of wages, entry to justice, and workers’ voices,” Romanos says. “Extra work must be achieved so this upcoming World Cup will go away a optimistic legacy for all workers.”