Human rights groups said FIFA misled the world about migrant worker abuses at the Qatar World Cup in a statement on Monday.
The group – made up of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, FairSquare and Equidem – said “FIFA still fails to [fufill] its human rights responsibilities by refusing to compensate migrant workers and their families during the preparation and staging of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
On the eve of the World Cup, FIFA announced a legacy fund to “benefit those most in need”, but it does not provide any workers’ compensation, human rights groups have said.
They argue that FIFA President Gianni Infantino made “misleading comments that workers can simply access compensation through an existing mechanism in Qatar, when that mechanism is not in fact set up to provide compensation on a significant scale related to death, injury and historic wage theft.”
Human Rights Watch Acting Executive Director Tirana Hassan said, “FIFA’s blatant whitewashing of grave abuses against migrant workers in Qatar is both a global embarrassment and a sinister tactic to evade its responsibility for of human rights to compensate thousands of abused workers and their families. who died to make this World Cup possible.
“FIFA continues to collect billions of dollars in revenue but refuses to offer a single penny to the families of deceased migrant workers or workers who have been cheated out of their wages,” Hassan added.
Qatar’s Ministry of Labor has a workers’ support and insurance fund which started operating in 2020, but the human rights coalition claimed that “the fund is not currently in place. to be able to provide compensation on a significant scale”.
“Qatari authorities have also failed to provide disaggregated details of the reported $350 million reimbursed to migrant workers for wage theft, despite repeated requests from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International,” they said.
As the World Cup enters its final, the group calls on FIFA to use the fund to compensate the families of the deceased workers.
FIFA, World Cup organizers and the Qatari government did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
What FIFA said: Earlier, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told CNN “there is still a long way to go” on labor reforms, but said progress has been made in the country.
“I saw the great evolution that happened in Qatar, which was recognized – I don’t mean by FIFA – but by unions around the world, by international organizations,” Infantino said in an interview. Last year.
What Qatar said: Meanwhile, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) told CNN in November it had established what it claims is a worker welfare forum “the first of its kind. “, which he said allowed workers to elect a representative on their behalf. and, when companies have failed to comply with WWF, it intervenes and alerts the authorities.
Since 2016, the SC said 69 contractors had been demobilized, 235 contractors placed on a watchlist and seven others blacklisted. “We understand that there is always room for improvement,” the statement added.
A Qatari government official also told CNN last month that there was still work to be done, but “systemic reform doesn’t happen overnight, and changing the behavior of every company takes time, like this is the case in any country in the world”.
“Over the past decade, Qatar has done more than any other country in the region to strengthen the rights of foreign workers, and we will continue to work in close consultation with international partners to strengthen reforms and their implementation,” he said. said the manager.
CNN’s Aimee Lewis, Pramod Acharya and Sugam Pokharel contributed to this post.