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SBD Global/October 14, 2013/International Football

Union Criticizes Qatar Over 'Slavelike' Working Conditions Ahead Of 2022 World Cup

Allegations of rights abuses "have long been raised against companies based in Qatar," according to Bollier & Essa of AL JAZEERA. After being named host of the 2022 World Cup, the country "has faced increased scrutiny over dubious labor conditions." This week a delegation of the BWI, which is based in Geneva, "traveled to Qatar on a fact-finding trip to investigate working conditions in the small Gulf country." BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said the mission "found disturbing evidence of wrong practices and gathered testimonies about the violations of internationally accepted labor standards." Yuson: "One worker in a slavelike situation is one too many. This is not acceptable." Qatar's National Human Rights Committee -- a branch of the government that helped facilitate the BWI's trip -- "took the delegation to a labor camp in Ras Laffan where conditions, said delegation members, appeared to be good." But afterward, Al Jazeera and some members of the delegation "visited a labor camp in Al Khor where conditions were spartan." Thin strings tied between beds "served as clotheslines, and cardboard boxes glued on the walls were used as toothbrush holders." One toilet "was allocated for 10 men," workers said, and some of the wash areas "were broken, without taps and plumbing." These conditions "violate compulsory standards set forth by Qatar's National Human Rights Committee, which prohibit bunk beds and stipulate that only up to four workers may share a room." Yet just across the road in another camp, "conditions seemed to mostly abide by Qatar's labor laws." A mobile-crane operator living there described the contrast between his conditions and those at the camp across the road as "the difference between earth and sky" (AL JAZEERA, 10/10).
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