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Qatar and the abuses committed against the rights of women, immigrants and other minorities

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The designation of Qatar as the next venue for the 2022 World Cup generated a wave of criticism, accusations and investigations at the international level, causing more than one shock to the supreme soccer body: FIFA.

To the doubts about the process of assigning the venue and criticism for the high temperatures in the months when this event is usually held, there have been complaints about deplorable working conditions in sports-related works and abuses committed against the human rights of minorities.

The situation of immigrant employees

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In 2016, Amnesty International denounced in a report the worst conditions in which the immigrants who were in charge of the reconstruction and reform of the emblematic stadium worked. Khalifalocated in the city of Doha.

“They are being exploited”, they pointed out “Some are subjected to forced labor. They can’t change jobs, they can’t leave the country, and they often have to wait months to collect their salaries; meanwhile, FIFA, its sponsors and the construction companies involved are preparing to obtain great economic benefits from the holding of the tournament”, they reported.

According to this report, if workers complained about conditions or asked for help, they were usually intimidated by their employers, threatening to send them back to their countries.

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In 2020 and after constant complaints against Qatari policies, the government of the Asian country managed to implement a law that specified a minimum wage and the right to free job choice.

This promulgation also included important reforms such as the dismantling of the kafalahor sponsorship (now workers can move freely and can change their boss whenever they want).

The changes in these norms were promoted by the International Union of Building and Wood Workers (IHB), who, under his Vice President Dietmar Schäferslaunched the campaign “Red card for FIFA – There is no World Cup without human rights”.

“Since 2016, as an international union, we have been able to carry out regular inspections at all World Cup construction sites in Qatar. So far we have carried out 24 inspections with our experts”, Schäfers recently noted in an interview with DW.

However, despite the fact that wage conditions and humane treatment have slowly improved over the years and thanks to the supervision of NGOs, there are still abuses against workers.

“Every day, workers across the country are at the mercy of unscrupulous people. Employers who orchestrate wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and sometimes insurmountable barriers to job transition. Employers can exploit their workers with impunity.” lament Katja Müller-FahlbuschAmnesty International’s Middle East expert.

“There are still conservative forces that are critical of the modernization process. A resistance is forming that would like to reverse the changes in society; therefore, we must not lose sight of Qatar in a sustainable way”, finished.

Migrant workers are seen walking past a construction site in Qatar’s capital Doha on December 6, 2016. (Photo: AFP)

Women vs. Qatar

The Mexican Paola Schietekat27, worked until the middle of last year as a behavioral economist, developing public policies, in the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the official body that organizes the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

In a letter that title “A world that seems to hate women”the young woman reported that on June 6, 2021 a man “from the Latino community” on qatar -which she knew- entered her apartment at night Doha to sexually assault her.

She pointed out during her complaint that she struggled with the man until she ended up on the floor with bruises on her arms and back. The woman then went to the Mexican embassy with photographs of the mistreatment and reported the case to the local justice system, governed by Islamic laws.

That same day, the aggressor stated that she was “his girlfriend”. For Qatari law, this would mean a sexual relationship outside of marriage, considered a crime in the country, which according to Schietekat It would bring him a punishment of one hundred lashes and at least seven years in prison.

“At a certain point they demanded a virginity test from me. For some reason I had become the accused”said the complainant during an interview with the agency AFP.

The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) became aware of the case and asked Qatar to put an end to this court case. “The Qatari authorities should drop these charges that are not recognized by international law and should instead investigate the physical assault he reported”declared Rothna Beguman expert in women’s rights at the institution.

HRW also called on the Qatari authorities to provide better medical and legal support to victims of sexual assault, especially in the run-up to the world Cup.

“During major sporting events like the World Cup, the risk of sexual violence increases considerably due to the number of people present”noted HRW.

In Qatar, “the police do not usually believe women who report violence, particularly foreign women”, stressed Behum concerned.

Shows of affection between LGTBIQ+ people are prohibited

During an interview collected by Marca, the president of the organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Nasser Al-Khater, said that the supporters LGTBIQ+ have the right to travel to the country and attend matches, but that “Public displays of affection are frowned upon and this applies to everyone.”

“Qatar and neighboring countries are much more conservative and we ask fans to respect. We are sure that they will, just as we respect different cultures, we hope that ours will too”Al-Khater noted.

On qatar, homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison. And if homosexuals are Muslim, they can be executed. In this country, its inhabitants are governed by the Sharia law; the law that imposes the code of conduct of society, the moral criteria and what is accepted or not.

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