Fifa meeting in Switzerland tomorrow must address Qatar migrant workers' rights

Amnesty expert available for interview 
 
Migrant workers’ rights in Qatar and the 2022 World Cup will be discussed at Fifa’s “Executive Committee” (ExCo) meeting in Zurich tomorrow and Friday, and Amnesty International is calling on the footballing body to clarify its stance over addressing the abuse of migrants in Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
 
A report on migrant workers and Qatar 2022 is expected to be presented at the meeting by ExCo member Dr Theo Zwanziger. 
 
Despite previous promises by Fifa to address the “unacceptable” situation for Qatar’s migrant workers, last week the organisation’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke appeared  to distance Fifa from any involvement in human rights issues, saying “Fifa is not a United Nations. Fifa is about sport.” 
 
In November, Amnesty published a 166-page report - The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup - documenting widespread and routine abuse of migrant workers, in some cases amounting to forced labour. For example, Nepalese workers employed by a company delivering supplies to a construction project associated with the planned Fifa headquarters for Qatar 2022, said they were “treated like cattle” by their employer. 
 
Amnesty International’s researcher on migrant workers in the Gulf, James Lynch, said: 
 
“It is time for Fifa to clarify where it stands.
 
“When Fifa awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, it assumed a responsibility for the human rights impact of that decision. It is involved in this issue, whether it likes it or not.
 
“Fifa should have a clear and consistent public message that human rights must be respected in the preparation and staging of World Cups, and should be advocating that the Qatari government urgently addresses the risk of labour rights abuses in the context of the 2022 World Cup.”
 
James Lynch is available for interview ahead of tomorrow’s Fifa meeting.
 
Possible talking points:
 
*Fifa’s responsibility to address the abuse of migrant workers’ rights 
 
*Qatar 2022 workers’ welfare standards 
 
*Qatar’s labour laws for migrant workers and the abusive “kafala” sponsorship system 
 
Please contact the Amnesty International UK media team to arrange an interview.
 

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