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29 Nov 2022

Rothna Begum, HRW

Qatar: HRW says Govt. calling criticism against it racist an attempt to hide abuses against migrant workers

Shutterstock (purchased)

"Qatar Can’t Hide Its Abuses by Calling Criticism Racist", 27 Nov 2022

As the FIFA Men’s World Cup begins, Qatar is facing media scrutiny for the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers who built and delivered an estimated $220 billion of World Cup infrastructure—as well as discrimination against women and LGBT people. Qatari authorities are anxious to deflect attention from the country’s human rights record by claiming that the criticism is racist, because such criticism against a World Cup host is “unprecedented.” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the same, delivering a rambling speech on the eve of the World Cup.

Qatari authorities might be able to justifiably complain about lazy reporting on the Arab world, but the biggest criticism about Qatar is that this World Cup has been built on racial injustice—delivered at the cost of abuse and exploitation of low-paid migrant workers primarily from South Asia and Africa...

Qatar needs to address the root causes of the racial injustice that threaten the legacy of its World Cup. It should start by committing, along with FIFA, to remedying abuses that have taken place over the past 12 years, including wage theft, injuries, and deaths, and then Qatar should build on its recent reforms to dismantle its kafala system entirely.