(CNN Spanish) — Qatar’s preparation to host the 2022 World Cup has been marked by a series of controversies over the treatment of migrant workers who have traveled to the country in recent years to help build the stadiums, especially given the high death toll in work accidents.
Like other Persian Gulf monarchies, Qatar has made extensive use of migrant labor in recent decades, sometimes under harsh and dangerous working conditions.
How many of these workers have died during the construction of the stadiums that will be used in the World Cup?
Qatar came under global scrutiny after thousands of deaths were reported among migrant workers, who often come from some of the world’s poorest countries to do dangerous jobs, in extreme heat and for low wages.
According to the British newspaper Guardianthe number could amount to 6,500 dead workers since 2010, when Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup.
CNN has not been able to verify this figure, and the Qatari government has categorically denied the allegation.
“This is something that needs to be made absolutely clear. Absolutely clear. The number of fatalities in World Cup stadiums that are work-related is three fatalities. There are just over 30 fatalities that are not work-related. worked”, said to CNN Nasser al Khatel, executive head of the committee that organizes the World Cup in Qatar.
The ILO report
The International Labor Organization (ILO) assured that there are gaps in data collection by Qatari institutions, and stated that in 2020 alone, 50 workers would have died after suffering fatal occupational injuries.
The report said Qatar inadequately investigates and reports worker deaths and called for “better quality and more accurate data collection, with more efforts to investigate injuries and deaths that may be work-related, but are currently not are classified as such.
Data from medical institutions providing acute care to injured workers in Qatar showed that 50 workers died in 2020 and more than 500 suffered serious injuries, according to the ILO’s comprehensive report on work-related deaths and injuries in the country.
According to the report, 37,600 workers suffered minor to moderate injuries in 2020.
“The majority suffered from migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, mainly in the construction industry,” the ILO said in a statement about the report.
Migrant workers make up 95% of Qatar’s workforce, according to the ILO.
“Falls from height and traffic accidents were the main causes of serious injuries, followed by falling objects in the workplace,” the ILO said.
Qatar’s Ministry of Labor said in a statement that “figures reported in the media on deaths of migrant workers have been grossly misleading.”
“The Government has been transparent about the health of our foreign population and, in reality, mortality levels in Qatar are on par with the broader demographics globally. Still, improving the health and well-being of foreign workers remains a priority,” the Ministry added.
Qatar has introduced reforms to its labor structure, dismantling the controversial Kafala sponsorship system and enforcing a minimum wage of $275 per month that applies to both migrant and live-in workers, which it says is the first of its kind. in the region.
Amnesty International urges FIFA to compensate migrant workers
In May this year the human rights group Amnesty International urged FIFA to allocate at least $440 million to compensate migrant workers it says have suffered labor abuses in preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“With six months to go until the opening of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have not received adequate redress, including financial compensation, for the serious labor abuses they suffered during the construction and maintenance of essential infrastructures for the preparation and celebration of the World Cup in Qatar”, said in may an open letter sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Although Amnesty International recognize progress made to protect workers’ rights in the country, says aid is coming too late and that the country’s “kafala sponsorship system” allows “unscrupulous employers to abuse migrant workers with impunity”.
FIFA welcomed welcomed Amnesty’s recognition of labor reforms in the country and stated that, together with Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Surrender and Legacy (SC), it was “implementing an unprecedented due diligence process” in relation to the protection of workers involved in the preparations for the World Cup.
Also said that it was “currently assessing Amnesty International’s proposed programme”, but that the report covered “a wide range of non-World Cup-specific public infrastructure built since 2010”.
With information from Allegra Goodwin, Amanda Davies, Ben Church, and George Ramsay.
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How many dead did the construction of the stadiums for the World Cup in Qatar leave? This is what we know