EU condemns Qatar over alleged human rights abuses ahead of World Cup

The European Parliament has officially condemned Qatar on suspicion human rights violations believed to have caused the deaths of migrant workers tasked with building preparations for this year’s World Cup.

In a resolution passed on Thursday, the EU board called on FIFA to help Qatar compensate all migrant workers and their families through an expansion of the country’s Workers’ Assistance and Insurance Fund – which has already paid out around $320 million, according to a press release hat for workers who have been victims of wage abuse – to cover worker deaths and “other human rights abuses”.

The resolution puts pressure on Qatari officials to thoroughly investigate all reported cases of a migrant worker’s death on the job and to provide compensation to the families of those whose deaths are shown to have been caused by unsafe working conditions. It comes amid mounting allegations that Qatar has exploited migrant workers to build the stadiums and structures currently hosting the World Cup.

A file photo dated December 20, 2019 shows ongoing construction work at Lusail Stadium, one of the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, in Lusail, Qatar.

Hassan Ammar/AP

Mustafa Qadri, the founder of the organization Equidem, which investigates labor abuse, told CBS News last week that migrant workers face forced labor and unsafe physical working conditions, and are forced to work for months without pay. Qadri traveled to Qatar to investigate alleged human rights abuses, which he estimates have killed at least hundreds of workers, and told CBS News he was arrested while there.

According to Thursday’s press release, the European Parliament estimates that thousands of migrant workers in Qatar have died as a result of hazardous working conditions ahead of the World Cup.

“As the 2022 FIFA World Cup has started in Qatar, Parliament deplores the deaths of thousands of migrant workers ahead of the tournament,” the press release said. It recognized the controversial and potentially corrupt means by which Qatar won the bid to host this year’s games and denounced FIFA for its role in the selection process. According to the press release, MPs described corruption within FIFA as “rampant, systemic and ingrained”.

Referring to a number of labor reforms that have been passed in Qatar but not fully implemented, MEPs also urged in their resolution “the full implementation of the approved reforms”. They also condemned the country’s laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and anti-gay public rhetoric, and called for an increase in women’s representation in the workforce.

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