FIFA World Cup 2022 Preparations on Ice as Fresh Protests Break Out

August 5, 2019 3:04 pm

A video showing workers on Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium project striking on Sunday has been circulated widely on social media. The video shows a large crowd of people in high-visibility jackets gathering on a road.

Dubai’s Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, tweeted for “God to deliver Qatar from these scandals”.

In April, migrant workers took to the streets to denounce overdue wages, oppressive government policies and inhuman working conditions.

As many as 28,000 people building seven new stadiums for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar earn the equivalent of only $1.04 (Dh3.82) an hour, an investigation revealed in May.

In February, Amnesty International said Qatar was running out of time to stamp out widespread abuse of tens of thousands of migrant workers before hosting the World Cup.

“Time is running out if the Qatari authorities want to deliver a legacy we can all cheer, namely a labour system that ends the abuse and misery inflicted on so many migrant workers every day,” Amnesty’s Stephen Cockburn said.

Migrant workers, angry over rights abuses, staged violent protests in Qatar, online reports have said.

The protesters took to the streets, decrying oppressive government policies, overdue wages and inhuman working conditions, they said.

Online images showed cars reportedly destroyed by angry demonstrators, who work on building stadiums that will host the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

The hashtag “Riot Acts in Qatar” has become a popular Arab trending over the past hours in a show of solidarity with the protesting workers.

“Al Jazeera: Vehicles are taking a nap! News of protests is incorrect!” said a commentator, named Abdul Latif, in a sarcastic post.

Another tweeter, called Ahmad Al Sarem, challenged Al Jazeera to shed light on labour conditions in Qatar.

“Will Al Jazeera dare to report about the ordeal of these workers, who are deprived of their basic rights?” he said.

Al Jazeera is often critical of governments in other Arab countries and is accused of biased coverage.

Human rights advocates have repeatedly accused Qatar of labour abuses as the energy-rich country is struggling to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Earlier this month, several rights watchdogs have cited the death of more than 1,200 migrant workers while building sports facilities in Qatar and charged a government rights commission of covering up the deaths.

Qatar is increasingly becoming a pariah after the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transportation links with it for its support to extremist group.

Last year, Qatar amended its residency law to allow most migrant workers to leave the country without an exit visa, a move that was termed a “huge step” by the International Organization for Labour (ILO).

According to the head of the ILO Project Office in Qatar, Houtan Homayounpour, great progress has been made with regards to labour reforms in the country but the work is far from finished.

Although the Amnesty report focuses on conditions of the nearly two million migrant workers in Qatar, not just the 30,000 on direct World Cup projects, Amnesty said FIFA had an “ongoing responsibility” to prevent abuse.

Tags: Football
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