23/Oct/2014 - Last News Update: 12:02

Qatar 2022: New charter to protect World Cup workers

Category: Sport

Published: 11th Feb 2014 07:51:36

Organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have drawn up a 'Workers' Charter' in an attempt to protect the rights of migrant employees.

Almost 200 Nepalese men are reported to have died last year working on construction projects in Qatar.

The International Trade Union Confederation says up to 4,000 could die by 2022 if current laws persist.

Qatar had until 12 February to inform football's world governing body, Fifa, how it would reform working practices.

The new 50-page charter has been developed in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation.

As well as the 185 deaths last year, it is believed that a significant number of workers in Qatar suffered injuries that were a result of unsafe working practices.

There have also been complaints about the standard of accommodation many workers live in.

Many of the migrant workers in Qatar come from South Asia

Trade unions and human rights groups have also criticised Qatar's 'kefala' employment system that ties migrant workers to their sponsor companies and the exit visa requirements that prevent workers from leaving without the permission of employers.

The new document, entitled 'Workers' Welfare Standards', details the measures that Qatar's World Cup Supreme Committee plan to enact when dealing with contractors and subcontractors over key World Cup stadium and infrastructure projects.

Specifically, the charter states Qatar 2022 will act to ensure the following measures are put in place:

Hassan Al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar's Supreme Committee for the World Cup, has insisted the tournament would not be built "on the blood of innocents".

Andrew North reports from Nepal on the plight of migrant workers in November 2013

Zahir Belounis, the French Algerian striker who was unable to leave Qatar after a dispute with his club, is due to address the European Parliament on Friday about his experience.

A senior member of Fifa's executive committee, Theo Zwanziger, is also expected to deliver an update on Qatar's planned reforms at the hearing in Brussels.

After clarifying in October that Qatar would still host the World Cup, Fifa president Sepp Blatter promised to address the issue of workers' rights and visited the Emir of Qatar to discuss the matter.

The Gulf state is reported to be spending more than $200bn (£121bn) on a series of infrastructure projects, and says the World Cup is a catalyst for a nationwide building project.

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BBC News, 2014. Qatar 2022: New charter to protect World Cup workers [Online] (Updated 11th Feb 2014)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1544147/Earth-bank-built-to-protect-Bridgwater-from-flooding [Accessed 23rd Oct 2014]

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