A storm of controversy has once again descended on Qatar related to its hosting of the Fifa 2022 World Cup. This time, the uproar does not pertain to whether the event should be held in the hot summer months in the country, but rather the treatment of labourers.
When Doha made its bid to Fifa, it submitted plans for 12 stadiums, nine of which would be newly built. The cost of constructing these venues as well as the metro, roads, hotels and other infrastructure needed for the matches is estimated to be $70bn. To meet this objective, Qatar is relying on tens of thousands of workers from South and Southeast Asia. But a new report by Amnesty International reveals widespread and routine abuse of these labourers, including non-payment of wages, dangerous working conditions and squalid accommodation.
The report said these abuses were made possible due to the permissive environment and lax enforcement of labour regulations in Qatar. While the government and contractors may take issue with some of the reports findings, the net effect of the criticism will be positive for those involved. In light of the reports conclusions, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has pledged to aggressively monitor the treatment of workers and hold firms accountable for non-compliance with the standards set by the government body.
Bringing more oversight to the working conditions in Qatar will go a long way towards improving the lives of these labourers and helping to repair the countrys image in the world.