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1 Oct 2017

Human Rights Watch urges Qatar & FIFA 2022 World Cup Organisers to reform heat protection regulations for migrant construction workers; includes FIFA response & Supreme Committee statement

In September 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report calling on the Qatari government to adopt and enforce laws to protect migrant construction workers from fatal heat-related illnesses. HRW also urged FIFA and national football associations to insist that Qatar enacts reforms to protect workers from heat and humidity, in addition to carrying out investigations into worker deaths and making comprehensive data publicly available.

HRW called existing heat regulations in Qatar “rudimentary and inadequate”. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, responsible for the 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations, has mandated work-to-rest ratios for workers involved in stadium construction. HRW however argues that these restrictions only apply to 1.5% of Qatar’s construction workforce and do not consider the effects of sunlight, which increases the risk of heat stress.

The Supreme Committee has acknowledged HRW’s concerns in a statement, saying: “[we are] committed to promoting and protecting the welfare, health and safety of all workers building stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.” The Supreme Committee nevertheless “whole-heartedly refute[s] the suggestion…that [they have]…failed to protect the lives of workers on [their] projects.

HRW’s report and the Supreme Committee’s statement are both included in this story. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited FIFA to respond to the concerns raised in the reports. FIFA’s response is available below. 

(photo credit: Naseem Zeitoon/Reuters)

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