Amnesty report on the 2022 World Cup: Qatar conceals true cause of death for thousands

Amnesty International sharply criticizes Qatar for failing to provide information on thousands of migrant workers’ deaths. The human rights organization is demanding compensation for families suffering from emotional and economic effects and sending a special appeal to the DFB and FIFA.

Amnesty International calls for a new study calls on the host of the upcoming soccer world cup, Qatar, to solve the problems of thousands of deceased migrant workers in the country and to pay compensation to the bereaved. In addition, according to the human rights organization, the desert state must continue to improve the working conditions of the workers, especially with regard to the local heat. Amnesty is calling on FIFA and the national football associations to put public pressure on the Qatari authorities to implement the study’s recommendations.

Nicholas McGeehan, director of the non-profit organization Fairsquare Research, which Amnesty supported in the research, explains in an interview with “It is now also about doing the things that have to be implemented in the time that remains until the tournament The demands are to be implemented within this timeframe. There is no reason for FIFA and the associations not to take up these demands for investigations and compensations. These compensations would make a big difference for the families who have lost everything, really everything. “

With a view to Qatar’s active assistance in the spectacular Lionel Messi transfer from Barcelona to the French first division club Paris Saint-Germain, which is supported by the emirate, McGeehan adds: “You just have to look at Qatar’s financial possibilities. Why shouldn’t they have any money for these compensations if they can spend that much money on Messi. They can find the money, I’m sure. ”

Amnesty, citing the expertise and input of numerous leading medical experts, is indicting that Qatar has violated the right to life and the right to healthy working and environmental conditions of its migrant workers. “Ever since FIFA awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup in 2010, there have been repeated allegations that significant numbers of migrant workers died from the country’s extremely hot climate and poor working conditions while they were working on huge infrastructure projects,” including for the 2022 World Cup, according to the Amnesty report. After four years of Qatari labor reforms aimed primarily at dismantling Qatar’s exploitative “kafala” system, a year before the World Cup, the situation on the ground remains critical and “worker safety in Qatar is an issue of great concern and ongoing controversy “.

Death certificates almost only report “natural” deaths

According to international standards, Qatar is required to properly investigate and determine the cause of death of guest workers. Although Qatar reports that over 15,000 non-Qatari people died in the emirate between 2010 and 2019, Amnesty criticizes the fact that it is still not clear how many people died because of the working conditions. Over the past decade, thousands of workers have died suddenly and unexpectedly, despite having passed mandatory medical tests before entering the country. Clear evidence that the enormous heat poses health risks for workers has been ignored by the Qatari government. With proper safeguards, hundreds of lives could have been saved.

Qatar was still failing to meet its human rights obligations to uphold the right to life because thousands of deaths were not properly investigated. The report notes that Qatar does not solve 70 percent of the deaths and rarely, if ever, uses autopsies to determine the root cause of death. “Death certificates usually report deaths as ‘natural causes’ or ‘cardiac arrest’,” Amnesty said. This would not make a connection to the working conditions. According to Amnesty International, a well-equipped health system should be able to explain the cause of death in 99 percent of cases.

Fairsquare director McGeehan sees Qatar as an obligation. One does not necessarily have to resort to the classic autopsy, but can also learn something about the cause of death through questioning and inspecting the place of death. “Qatar has made changes in some areas, such as the reform of the ‘Kafala’ system, but they are doing very poorly here. Qatar needs to investigate the causes of death,” he said.

Demands on football

The lack of examinations in turn means that hardly any family of the deceased would be compensated. As a signatory to numerous international agreements, Qatar has an obligation to remedy the situation when workers’ rights are violated. There is a labor law in the Gulf Monarchy that gives the families of deceased workers the right to compensation in the event of the death of a family member “for professional reasons”. But the government not only forego the necessary investigations, but simply does not include deaths due to heat in its list of possible reasons to be compensated. The relatives of the deceased see themselves hit twice: losing a loved one and being confronted with serious financial problems and insecurity.

Qatar issued a statement rejecting Amnesty’s request as “unprecedented and unjustified”. The country pointed to visible labor reforms. These included a new national minimum wage, the abolition of exit permits, the removal of obstacles to changing jobs, better accommodation and improved health and safety standards. “So far, more than a million people have benefited from the reforms,” ​​said a government spokesman. So far, the embassy in Germany has not responded to a request from

Amnesty is now calling on FIFA and the national football associations to publicly persuade Qatar to comply with the recommendations of the human rights organization: improving working conditions (above all: no work in dangerous climatic conditions and observing mandatory breaks), and setting up a team of specialists made up of inspectors and medical experts Expertise in investigating and certifying deaths to ensure that all deaths are investigated and certified and compensating relatives of deceased migrant workers. At the request of, the DFB pointed out that it had already adopted a position on human rights and Qatar in April and that the association would continuously coordinate with NGOs and experts from sport and politics.

Qatar defends itself against criticism from Germany

The host of the soccer World Cup 2022 was recently criticized because of its political proximity to the Afghan Taliban. The Chancellor candidate of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock, spoke out in favor of canceling the tournament. “If you continue to support the Taliban in this way, if you continue to contribute to human rights violations in this massive way, we will not be able to play football with you anytime soon,” Baerbock said last weekend on ARD. The CDU candidate for Chancellor Armin Laschet had also declared, with a view to the role in Afghanistan, but also to the human rights violations in the emirate, that “Qatar is not a good place for a football World Cup”.

Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, Abdulla Mohammed Al Thani, defends himself against the current political criticism. Qatar’s “efforts” would not be seen enough by the German public. For example, Qatar has “been a mediator in the inner-Afghan peace talks for many years” and has established “a forum on neutral ground” in Doha, “within the framework of which some positive progress has been made between the conflicting parties,” he told “In view of the current developments, the state of Qatar is still determined to move both parties to a constructive dialogue so that the current violence can end and stability and peace can be restored in the country.

The emirate has also made “significant progress” in its internal affairs and, like Germany, it supports its commitment to international human rights. “The rights of workers, especially those from abroad, have been significantly expanded in recent years, especially in connection with the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, which has considerably improved the working conditions of many professional groups. These advances are supported by international organizations or recognized by the UN International Labor Organization, “said Al Thani.




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