Qatari Government and FIFA Bring Attention to Human Rights… By Ignoring Them

Etta S.

When Qatar won the right to host the World Cup, they knew that they would have to construct stadiums, hotels for guests and teams to stay, and an extension to the airport. This would take a lot of people, a lot of time, and a lot of money. But Qatar is a relatively rich country, having a lot of oil and not so many people. And many people from other countries needed jobs, so the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and Qatar knew that they would most likely come to Qatar to help work on all of the building projects for the World Cup. Around thirty thousand migrants came from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to earn money, but they did not get what they were expecting (BBC).

Around 6500 migrant workers from other countries have died since coming to Qatar to help build (writes Sean Ingle on The Guardian), but not all of these deaths were a result of the working conditions or the projects at all. They may have died because they were not taken care of well enough in the country. FIFA and the Qatari government say that most of these deaths are from “natural causes,” but it seems to Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations that these statements are mostly lies. Families of the deceased need compensation for their dead relatives, but if FIFA and the Qatari government say that the deaths were not because of the conditions but were caused by sickness and old age, they will not have to pay the money. Only a small number of families were compensated for their dead relatives, because those were cases where there was no question that the subject died due to poor working conditions. Workers are dying of the heat, but FIFA and the government say that the weather is not their fault and that they can’t change it. Many other workers were injured in the projects.

The government of Qatar claims that some of these deaths were not caused by working on anything concerning the World Cup. Part of that may be true, but according to Human Rights Watch, the numbers they give are most likely exaggerated.

Aside from the deaths, the government and FIFA are not paying the workers enough. One would guess that FIFA knew this would happen. Qatar’s history concerning human rights is not a good one. The government and many citizens are racist and sexist and against LGBTQ+ individuals. They have laws against women and same-sex marriage. Everyone knew this, but because there is a voting system within Fifa to pick which country hosts the World Cup, Qatar could have bribed the participants with money to make them vote for it. 

FIFA has reportedly written to the teams telling them not to talk about the discrimination and deaths, not to draw attention to it. They are telling the teams to keep focusing on football (soccer) and not go into the subject of the building of the stadium, hotels, and airport. Though they are trying to keep it relatively quiet, the subject has gotten a lot of attention and the conditions are improving. But it’s still not even close to fair treatment, with the Qatari government not allowing peaceful protests such as team captains wearing rainbow armbands to represent the LGBTQ+ community.

The discussions about this issue are slowly decreasing, but it is still a thing that happened and that will happen again if people don’t recognize it and try harder to stop it. The Qatari government and FIFA did not prevent it, they were part of the problem. But next time, there should not be a problem at all.