Forced Labor Building 2022 World Cup Stadiums

Qatar migrant workers abused, exploited, Amnesty International report finds
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2013 2:09 AM CST
Members of the union UNIA demonstrate in front of the FIFA headquarters against the working conditions for the soccer World Cup 2022.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)
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(Newser) – The gleaming new stadiums Qatar plans to host the 2022 World Cup in are being built on the backs of abused migrant workers, a scathing new Amnesty International report finds. The group says it has uncovered an "alarming level of exploitation," with workers being forced to work without pay, labor long hours in unsafe conditions, and live in squalid, overcrowded accommodations, the BBC reports. The worst of the abuses, which Amnesty says amount to forced labor, are blamed on a system that ties migrant workers to their employers, resulting in some being blackmailed to work without pay under threat of being fined, deported, or imprisoned.

Dozens of Nepalese workers have died in the last few months and union groups warn that thousands could die amid the race to complete the World Cup infrastructure, the Guardian finds. The Amnesty report cites an official at the Qatari capital's main hospital who says a thousand workers were admitted to the trauma unit last year after falling from heights, around 10% of whom were left disabled. "It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world, that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive," Amnesty says. The chief of soccer's world governing body said last week that he had met with Qatar's leader and he believes the country is "on the right track" to protect workers' rights.

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