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23 May 2022

Qatar World Cup 2022: FIFA responds to allegations of "informants" targeting migrant worker activists researching labour exploitation

fifg, Shutterstock (purchased)

In May 2022, The Mail on Sunday reported that "informants" who appear as any other migrant worker are targeting known activists investigating labour conditions and exploitation in Qatar, ahead of the World Cup. Those questioned said workers on World Cup stadium construction sites are asking questions in such a way that suggests the "interrogators were professionally trained".

Human rights NGO Equidem said they had received reports from contacts of "under-cover security officials" recruited from workers' home countries, including Kenya, India and Nepal. Equidem believes the informants are being placed and co-ordinated by the Qatari government, rather than individual companies.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited FIFA to respond publicly to the report; their response can be read in full below.

We are in constant contact with workers in Qatar... And so, while there is an element of speculation, we know that people from Kenya, from India, from Nepal, who look and talk like any normal workers, are basically asking questions of people that are known to be activists... I have to be extremely careful. There has been a high level of surveillance, not just of journalists and people like me visiting the countries, but also of workers. And there is a pattern of reprisals for workers who register complaints.
Mustafa Qadri, Chief Executive of Equidem