Is the 2022 FIFA World Cup Going to be Relocated? ITUC Investigates Qatar for Serious, Ongoing Human Rights Abuse

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has announced a new investigation into the conditions of workers in Qatar following a visit of ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow to Nepal to hear first hand accounts from workers who have just returned from the Gulf Kingdom.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said new figures made public during her visit recorded 162 deaths of Nepalese workers in Qatar in the first ten months of 2011. Most of the workers’ deaths are unexplained, and are simply recorded as deaths “during sleep” or from “heart attacks”.

Nepalese embassy statistics from January – October 2011 show

• 13 migrant workers committed suicide

• 22 work-related deaths were documented

• 92 deaths were unexplained

“One construction worker I spoke to was working outside in 40 degree heat. When he asked to resign, he was not allowed. Instead he was forced to work 18 months in life-threatening conditions, to make enough money for his ticket home, ” said Sharan Burrow.

“Many workers die from heat exhaustion, in 2010 this was covered up as heart attacks, now we’re told the workers are dying in their sleep.”

“These young men are angry about how they were treated. One found out that he was earning $100 a month less than a colleague doing the same job. When he asked for equal pay, his employer refused. He said he would not work, and wanted to return home, but was kept in Qatar until he had paid for his ticket,” said Burrow.

During meetings with President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Burrow committed the ITUC’s support to protect the rights of workers from Nepal and other countries working under extreme and harsh conditions in Qatar.

1.2 million Nepalis are believed to be working in Gulf States including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Qatar is launching one of the largest infrastructure programmes in history, with more than US$ 100bn in construction investment. Tens of thousands more migrants from Nepal and elsewhere are expected to flood into the country in the coming years. Migrants are banned from forming trade unions, and anyone taking industrial action over issues like safety or unpaid wages is deported.

The ITUC will release the investigation on workers conditions in Qatar towards the end of the year. Negotiations are continuing with FIFA on protections for workers building Qatar World Cup facilities.

The ITUC has warned it will launch an international campaign ‘No Labour Rights – No World Cup’ unless workers’ rights are upheld in Qatar.



2 May 2012: The International Trade Union Confederation has called for an urgent meeting with Qatari Labour Minister after reports emerged the Qatari authorities plan to establish trade unions in the Gulf kingdom.

In a letter to the Qatari Labour Minister, the ITUC said workers are dying in Qatar as they build World Cup stadiums and infrastructure, and suffer large-scale exploitation every day.

“Workers must have the legal right to organise themselves in free, independent trade unions without punishment or interference from authorities,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation

The ITUC, who recognise free and fair trade unions as affiliates, have received no official announcement from the Qatari authorities about their plans.

“We are ready to sit down with the Qatari authorities to ensure the legal conditions are in place for workers to collectively bargain and freely form and join trade unions of their choice,” said Sharan Burrow.

"Gradual change in the Gulf is not good enough for workers and their families. Construction workers, the majority of whom are migrant workers, are risking their lives today as they work in poor and unsafe conditions with low wages. They need trade union rights today to protect them," said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Wood Workers International.

International unions are negotiating with FIFA about labour standards after the World Cup was awarded to Qatar where workers’ rights are not protected to international standards.



Yes it is true

Unfortunately all of this is true,the slavery steel exist in 21st century, behind this fancy shiny buildings is long long story and meany destines.. The workers are treated like slaves, sponsorship/slavery system is allowing this behavior and Qatari know how to use it.It is impossible to transfer your sponsorship to other company, usually some of the workers are blackmailed and racketeering from original sponsor if they wont to stay in the country and work other jobs.If they don't wont to work or stay in the country they are tortured on legal way (like ping-pong) through labor department, court, human rights, departure department..This institutions are full of this poor people, , mostly of them they don't know English and if they are asked to use Arabic, otherwise they are fully ignored.They are desperate, sometimes the court cases last for a year-two .This is mostly because the employer/sponsors is obligated to pay ticket to home and end of benefit...
Accommodation is less then 1.5-2 m2 per men, 6-16 men per room (per the low is 4m2), companies are calculating total cost per worker around 2100QR gross, and salary is between 500-800QR (food is included in calculation of the cost but not in the salary, "generous" companies will provide one beg of rice monthly per men )...In one word it's hypocrisy. Shame on you whoever you in this way exploiting these people and shame on those who are not doing anything to help these people.

this was posted somewhere.

this was posted somewhere. Needs to be shared.

Dear Hamad Hospital

I wanted to pass on my experience at Hamad Hospital on the 28th May because of the Villagio fire.

When my husband phoned me telling me there was a fire at Villagio and I should go and pick our children up I had no idea it would be the worst day of our lives and was the end of their short ones. When I ran to Villagio from Hyatt Plaza I was stopped at the mall entrance 2 by a man named Ali in a white Toyota Prado who identified himself as being from the Hamad Ambulance service. He tried to find out what was happening over his radio and cellphone but even after 11.30am no one could say where the children were, and seemed to have no idea there was a nursery there at all. He told me the fire was out, it was no big deal as if it was he wouldn't just be out there sitting in his car. My husband phoned me after 12.45 to come to gate 4 by the food court entrance as he could see them bringing children out. Some, including our beautiful little girl Lillie, in her blue skirt and pink socks were being given CPR. Some were simply covered with sheets. After several minutes and a screaming argument I was allowed to travel in the ambulance with my daughter while my husband waited to try and see if ours sons, Jackson and Willsher had been rescued. The paramedics were yelling that the ambulance was not stocked but were told just to go. They continued to perform chest compressions on Lillie and tried to get air into her however the face mask was too big and kept slipping. Where were the child ones??? I held her hand, rubbed her legs and feet and begged her to stay with us. The paramedics didn't know if she'd been given adrenalin so they gave her one shot, and when she didn't respond followed with another a few minutes later. When we reached the hospital she was rushed into emergency and I was made to wait in the waiting room with a constant stream of hospital staff telling me she would be ok, everything would be ok etc. I was made to wait there for over an hour, as other parents of children started to arrive looking for their babies. I kept asking about Lillie, where was she, was she OK and no one would tell me anything. Again more hospital ladies telling us everything would be ok, you will be fine and other unhelpful platitudes. Well over an hour later, nearly 2 we were told we would be going to the mortuary to identify the children that had been brought in. Despite me arriving with Lillie, and being able to identify her clothing they would not give me any information or let me see her. All I wanted was to hold my baby. How could you not know who she was when I arrived with her??? My husband left Villagio because the emergency crew was packing up and still no one could tell him where our sons were. He arrived just in time for us to be taken to the mortuary with another family where we were supposed to identify the bodies one family at a time. When we got there it was yet more chaos and no one was expecting us. So after standing in a corridor for 5 minutes we were then put into a storage cupboard that had been converted into an office, with 3 chairs and no windows. Over the next hour we were progressively squeezed in with other frightened parents and yet more staff telling us everything was fine. The hospital was utter confusion. No one could tell us if any children had been brought in alive. Hospital staff then asked us for photos of our children to try and identify them and we gave our phones to them. We were not allowed to see the children as there were so many. My husband was then taken into the mortuary and had to look at photos of all the dead children. I will never forget him coming back to me and saying "Lillie and Jackson are dead, Winkie (Willsher)isn't there" He was able to able to identify Lillie and Jackson from their photographs but wasn't able to identify Willsher from the picture so asked to see the body of the child he thought could be Winkie. He was told no its a girl that can't be your son. Martin insisted in seeing him and was eventually taken to see the body. He came away confused as the baby was swaddled in hospital sheets, no clothing was visible and what little hair could be seen was brown, and the hospital staff still kept insisting it was a girl. Martin was then shoved out of a back security door of the mortuary, on his own with no idea where he, or anyone else was. He then wandered around with no one able to tell him where the families were. We were moved to the hospital library where hospital staff tried to help us find Winkie. I prayed that he had hidden somewhere and might be ok, and was being treated in emergency. After another hour or more my husband was again taken to identify one last little child. We had described him as a little red haired boy with big beautiful blue eyes. This child had hair darkened by soot and the hospital staff still said they were a girl. It was Willsher, our little boy. All my babies were dead. We pleaded with the hospital to let us see our children and were not allowed and were all told to come back at specific times the next morning. As we had 3 children we were allocated 9.30, 9.45 and 10.00 the next morning. The first family to be allowed to see our children. We returned to the mortuary the next day at 9.25 to see our babies. We were again made to wait over an hour as various officials marched in and out of the mortuary before we were allowed in. Lillie, Jackson and Willsher were swaddled in sheets and though still my beautiful babies were so cold we were unable to hold them. We kissed them goodbye, stroked their hair and cried. Martin then had to wait over an hour, in the mortuary as other parents came to see their children waiting for paperwork for death certificates. Jackson's had been lost so there was yet another delay. My parents, and Martin's brother arrived from New Zealand, and our Nanny returned from her holiday to be with us. We went to the hospital on the 31st for them to see the babies. At this time I asked the mortuary staff about how they would look after a few days as it would take some time to take them home for burial. I was asked if I wanted them embalmed because of the journey. I agreed and requested that they be embalmed to enable our family in New Zealand to be able to say goodbye to them. I was assured this would happen, and phoned the following day to confirm it had been done. Dr Philip texted my husband to confirm this had happened. The New Zealand government received an embalming certificate from the Hamad Medical Corporation, signed by Dr Mohammed H Al Thani as part of the process for flying. When we arrived in New Zealand, and the funeral directors opened the coffins it was obvious that they had not been embalmed. We were not able to have our family, and their brother and sisters see them one last time as they now no longer looked like our sleeping angels. This was the final let down in what was the worst time of our lives.

Questions I need answers to and think you at Hamad need to ask are:

Why was the information between emergency services outside Villagio so inaccurate?

Why was the ambulance not stocked or have face masks the correct size for children?

How was my little girl taken from me supposedly alive, and then sent to the morgue for us to identify by photo when I was right outside the door to her treatment room the whole time.

Who were the multitude of non nursing staff who were unable to offer any practical help and kept saying everything will be OK, stop crying, and pull yourself together my dear when it so obviously wasn't OK?

Why were my babies not embalmed when we were advised multiple times in writing that it had happened? This is a requirement for the export of bodies to many countries.

Is this the only hospital for emergencies for a population of 1.7 million people ?

If this chaos happened with 13 children and 6 adults involved how is Doha going to cope with a bus accident of 40, a plane crash of 200 or an apartment building fire with no way of knowing the number of victims?

I would appreciate hearing back from you on what was learnt on the 28th of May and what measures have been taken to improve as I could not bear for other families to be subjected to this kind of chaos when their hearts have been broken.

Jane Weekes
Mother of Lillie, Jackson and Willsher died 28 May 2012 aged 2

no human rights for the poor labour force

yes I certainly agree that none of these poor laborers have any rights once they enter qatar... i lived in qatar for 5 years, and I saw the different standards set out for the white expats and then poor labour force from the far east... the only day the laborers have to rest and socialize is friday so that would be the day they leave their accommodation (their accommodation is literally a prison) but unfortunately they have NWHERE TO GO!! AS QATAR GOVERNMENT CONVENIENTLY HAS DECLARED IT A FAMILY DAY !!! so none of them can go anywhere unless you have a family... no mall, not even the beach which is known as the Corniche. the police come and share them as if they are some animals...

even alchohol is only for the affluent, so these poor people who work in such atrocious conditions have no access but they can obtain from the black market at double the price. the cheapest bottle which is sold at QR 40 they buy for QR 100.

so they are literally prisoners once they get there!!! i can write a volume.. but I guess no one will hear my voice