Qatar migrant workers “being abused”

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Amnesty International (AI) has said in a report that the workers building the FIFA World Cup 2022 are being “treated like animals”.

AI says migrant workers are often subjected to non-payment of wages, dangerous working conditions and squalid accommodation. The rights group said one manager had referred to workers as “animals”.

Qatari officials have said conditions will be suitable for those involved in construction of World Cup facilities, it has not yet commented on the latest report.

AI said it conducted interviews with 210 workers, employers and government officials for its report: “The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup”.

AI said some of the abuses amounted to “forced labour”. Some migrant workers were threatened with penalty fines, deportation or loss of income if they did not show up to work even though they were not being paid.

More than 1,000 people were admitted to the trauma unit at Doha’s main hospital in 2012 having fallen from height at work, Amnesty said, citing an unnamed hospital representative. Some 10% were disabled as a result and the mortality rate was “significant”, AI said.

“Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation”, mentioned AI.

It follows a report by the UK’s Guardian newspaper in September, which likened workers’ conditions to “modern-day slavery”.

The Guardian investigation drew a strong response from the world professional footballers’ association Fifpro, which collaborates with the Uni Global Union, the voice of 20 million service sector workers. Qatar must protect the rights of the workers who are to deliver the 2022 World Cup, it said.

FifPro board member Brendan Schwab said it was “inexcusable for workers’ lives to be sacrificed, especially given modern health and safety practices in the construction industry”.

Migrant workers are not working in the right conditions:

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