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Amnesty International: FIFA and Qatar shamed by human rights failure

There are an estimated 1.5 million migrant workers in Qatar.

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of Qatar winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Amnesty International says the country has done ''almost nothing effective'' to end labour exploitation.

A report by the charity in May 2015 identified nine rights issues over the estimated 1.5 million migrant workers in Qatar, but Amnesty claims five have yet to be addressed.

"Too little has been done to address rampant migrant labour abuse. Qatar's persistent labour reform delays are a recipe for human rights disaster," said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.

"The reforms proposed by the government fail to tackle the central issues that leave so many workers at the mercy of employers, yet even these changes have been delayed.

"Unless action is taken -- and soon -- then every football fan who visits Qatar in 2022 should ask themselves how they can be sure they are not benefiting from the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers.

"FIFA has played its part in this sorry performance. It knew there were labour rights issues in Qatar. It must work closely with the Qatari authorities and business partners to ensure the World Cup is not built on exploitation."

FIFA released its own statement on the report, claiming that it is dedicated to ensuring fair working conditions on the World Cup construction sites and elsewhere in Qatar.

"FIFA is fully aware of the situation with regards to labour standards in Qatar and of the opportunity that FIFA, together with other stakeholders, has to improve working conditions in the country," it read.

"Furthermore, FIFA will continue to urge the competent governmental authorities in Qatar to ensure that such standards are extended and applied not only to FIFA World Cup-related infrastructure but also throughout the country."

And Qatar later released a response to the Amnesty report, insisting "the accusation that Qatar has failed to improve the human rights of its guest workers is simply untrue" and that "the Government of the State of Qatar feels that Amnesty's statement does not accurately reflect the progress we have made in reforming our labour system."

Qatar has already launched an investigation after heavy rains exposed poor construction following a deluge that saw water cascade through the roof of its $15 billion main airport.


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