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SBD Global/November 19, 2013/International Football

Qatar '22 Organizers Say They Are Committed To Workers Welfare Following Amnesty Report

Qatar World Cup organizers insisted that they "are committed to accelerating progress in workers’ welfare" following Amnesty Int'l's damning report on migrant construction workers, according to WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER. Just hours after the report that documented widespread exploitation and abuse of workers was published, Qatar 2022 Communications & Marketing Dir Nasser Al-Khater said, "For us we’ve always said that the World Cup is a tool that has the power of accelerating progress on different fronts and we believe in that." He said that "the issue of workers welfare was one of them." Al-Khater: "We've always said that we are committed to ensuring that the workers working on Qatar 2022 are offered the safety, security and dignity they deserve." Al-Khater explained that "a three-tiered mechanism was being put in place" -- for the contractor, for Qatar 2022's external auditors and another for government auditors -- "to make sure that everybody working on Q2022 initiatives, all the contractors are abiding by the standards we put in place" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 11/18). The AP reported Amnesty said that the labor rights adopted by World Cup organizers themselves could "potentially serve as a positive model for other developers in Qatar," but expressed fears that other projects such as major infrastructure work like building roads and railways will not adopt those standards. Amnesty Int'l Secretary General Salil Shetty said, "Construction companies and the Qatari authorities alike are failing migrant workers. Employers in Qatar have displayed an appalling disregard for the basic human rights of migrant workers. Many are taking advantage of a permissive environment and lax enforcement of labor protections to exploit construction workers" (AP, 11/18).
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