Sunday, June 26, 2022

Fifa pushed to offer a $440 million compensation package to World Cup workers in Qatar

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Fifa has been asked to provide $440 million – the equivalent of World Cup prize money – in compensation for the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have suffered human rights abuses in preparation for Qatar 2022.

A coalition of 10 human rights and support groups have signed an open letter to Fifa President Gianni Infantino accompanying a report by Amnesty International, which coincides with the fact that the controversial tournament starts in six months.

The governing body has been urged to work with Qatar to create a comprehensive remediation program while ensuring abuses are not repeated, both in the Gulf state and for future tournaments.

The letter was signed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare, The Army of Survivors, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Business & Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC), Equidem, Football Supporters Europe (FSE), Independent Fanrat | North America (ISC) and Migrant-Rights.org.

Authored by Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, the document said: “Given the history of human rights abuses in the country, Fifa was aware – or should have been aware – of the obvious risks to workers when awarding the tournament to Qatar.

“Nevertheless, labor or human rights were not once mentioned in the evaluation of the Qatari bid and no conditions were made for labor protection. Since then, Fifa has done far too little to prevent or mitigate these risks.

“By turning a blind eye to predictable human rights abuses and not stopping them, Fifa has undeniably contributed to the widespread mistreatment of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects in Qatar, well beyond the stadiums and official hotels.”

The $440 million figure is equivalent to Fifa’s World Cup prize money, but the Amnesty report estimates that’s likely the minimum needed to cover the range of compensation costs needed to support conservation initiatives of workers’ rights are required future.

The sum required to recover unpaid wages, extortionate recruitment fees paid by hundreds of thousands of workers and compensation for injuries and deaths is calculated even higher, and it is recommended that this forms the basis for discussions with unions , civil society organizations and the US should form International Labor Organization, among others.

“While it may be too late to erase the suffering of past abuses, Fifa and Qatar can and should act to make amends and prevent further abuses,” Callamard said.

“Compensating the workers who gave so much to make the tournament happen and taking steps to ensure such abuses never happen again could mark a major turning point in Fifa’s commitment to respecting human rights.

“For years, the suffering of those who made this World Cup possible has been swept under the carpet. It is time for Fifa and Qatar to come together to work on a comprehensive recovery program that puts workers first and ensures no damage goes untreated.

“Under international law and FIFA’s own set of rules, both Qatar and FIFA have a duty or responsibility to prevent human rights violations and to bring redress to the victims. The recovery fund that Amnesty International and others are calling for is fully justified given the scale of the abuses suffered and represents a small fraction of the $6 billion in revenue Fifa will generate from the tournament.”

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