Qatar. Expulsion of workers ahead of World Cup raises concerns
Workers who were evacuated from their homes told Reuters that Qatar had emptied apartment buildings housing thousands of migrant workers in the same neighborhoods in the heart of Doha city where football fans will stay during the World Cup. world.
The majority of the workers are Asian and African, and they claimed that more than a dozen residences were being evacuated and closed down by authorities, forcing them to find any possible refuge, even camping on the sidewalk next to one of their old homes.
There are less than four weeks until the start of the international football championship on November 20, which has drawn widespread public attention to Qatar’s handling of expatriate workers and its strict social restrictions.
Authorities weathered the bumps at a building in Doha’s Al Mansoura district just two hours to leave around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Residents claimed the building housed 1,200 people. At around 10:30 p.m., local officials reportedly returned, ordered everyone out, and closed doors.
World Cup spectators will stay in residences in the area, where dozens of mechanical diggers are parked in the streets, and the affected area has recently undergone extensive redevelopment, particularly in the vicinity of Al -Mansoura.
In 2021, Qatar’s population grew by 13.2% as the country hired thousands of migrant workers ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which Doha will host in November. More than 80% of Qatar’s 2.8 million people are migrants, mostly from Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines and African countries like Kenya and Uganda.
The expulsions, according to a Qatari government official, were planned “as part of comprehensive and long-term efforts to reorganize the regions of Doha” and had nothing to do with the World Cup.
The official said all were then placed in safe and reasonable accommodation and any request for evacuation “would have been made with sufficient notice”.
FIFA, the organization that oversees football around the world, did not respond to a request for comment, and World Cup organizers in Qatar have posed questions to the government.
Qatar: the plight of migrant workers and the World Cup
More than 2 million migrants work in Qatar, representing approximately 95% of the country’s entire workforce. 100,000 domestic workers and about 1 million people work in the construction industry. Due to the enormous control that employers have over migrant workers under the kafala system, some workers are even prohibited from changing jobs, escaping abusive working conditions or even leaving the country.
The Qatari administration has embarked on a vast development program since it was chosen to organize the World Cup in 2010: 8 stadiums, more than 100 hotels, a new airport, 3 metros, a new port and many other infrastructure investments.
The working conditions of migrant workers are appalling and abusive from east to west across the world. But in the ten years since Qatar won the right to host the World Cup, there has been rampant exploitation and abuse, with workers subjected to forced labour, unpaid wages and long working hours.
Migrant construction workers are often relatively poor, in stark contrast to Qatar’s incredible wealth. Qatar’s decision to host the World Cup has drawn attention to the plight of these workers globally. The nation’s treatment of this work in recent years has had a patchy history.
Most migrant workers in the Gulf region have their legal status determined by the Kafala system. It was developed to provide cheap and plentiful labor during a time of rapid economic growth, and its proponents claim it benefits local businesses and promotes development. Today, it is becoming increasingly clear that exploitation is widespread with low wages, unfavorable working conditions and mistreatment of employees often due to a lack of laws and protections for rights. migrant workers.
The Qatari government agreed with the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2017 in response to years of mounting international pressure, promising to tackle widespread labor exploitation and “align its laws and practices with international standards. work”, bringing some comfort to those who have given so much to the nation and its dream of hosting the World Cup.
Since Qatar won the right to host the World Cup a decade ago, more than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died there, according to the Guardian .
Migrant workers have played a crucial role in keeping the nation’s operations going. In search of better economic prospects, thousands of people migrate to these countries every year, where exploitation and abuse become a common story. As the World Cup approaches, consider the thousands of people who form the backbone of this great spectacle.