Hidden heroes of Qatar World Cup

    07-Dec-2022
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Lamneivah Kipgen
The World Cup is one of the most prestigious association football tournaments as well as the most widely viewed and followed single sporting event in the world. It is also one of the most anticipated and awaited tournaments that not only football lovers but every one in the entire globe looks forward to and enjoys. It has been a sport that has brought many people together to cheer for the countries that are participating. Preparations begin months and even years before for the hosting and making the World Cup a success.
The FIFA World Cup is hosted by different countries every four years. This year’s World Cup is hosted by Qatar and is also the first World Cup to be held among the Arab countries. The selection of Qatar to be the host of this year’s world cup brought cheers and celebration on the streets of Doha however, these celebrations were short-lived because of the numerous criticisms and concerns about human rights that is revolving around Qatar and the price many people especially migrant workers had to pay for the World Cup to become a success. The FIFA World Cup from November 20th  to December 18th,2022 is being played following years of serious migrant labor and abuse on human rights, said the Human Rights Watch. The Human Rights Watch also published a 42-page guide called Qatar: FIFA World Cup 2022- Human Rights Guide for Reporters that briefs and summarizes the concerns related with Qatar’s preparation for and hosting of the 2022 World Cup and outlines broader problems with protecting human rights in the country. The concern for the violation of human rights started surfacing after many migrant workers, their families, journalists, and labor experts from origin countries have spoken about the abuses they suffered during the years following the construction of the stadiums, airport and hotels.
 Qatar has built seven stadiums for the World Cup finals as well as a new airport, metro system, series of roads and about 100 new hotels. An entire city has also been constructed around the stadium which will host the final match. According to the Qatar government, about 30,000 foreign laborers were hired just to build the stadiums and most of them were from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and the Philippines. These workers spent days and nights for years to build what we see now i.e., Qatar in its glory. However, many cases of abuse and inhumane treatment have caused many organizations to raise their voice in concern for all the testimonials and stories that the migrants had to tell. Many of them died during constructions but the death certificates declared as natural death and were not even provided any form of compensation to the families. The endless hours of working in the heat without proper medical aid caused many workers to get sick and even die from heatstroke.
Many workers who were injured were not given proper medical assistance and compensation. Most of the families of the workers that died were not able to fly their remains back to their countries for proper funerals.  The Qatar government also did not disclose the exact number of migrants and workers that died due to constructions till today. It has been 12 years since FIFA granted the duties of hosting the 2022 World Cup to Qatar but issues have continued to intensify. The treatment of migrant workers till the day the event took place has garnered continued attention.Over the past 12 years, many social workers, journalists, activists and organizations have been raising alarms about the abuses in Qatar and they also documented stories of the migrant workers and also in helping to assist and repatriate people or their bodies to their families. Many have urged a remedy for the abuses from Qatar and FIFA. But the Qatari authorities opposed the call for remedy and also went to the extent of calling it a publicity stunt. FIFA said they were open to providing remedies but sadly did not publicly commit to create a remedy fund even before the opening games.  The Qatar World Cup began on November 20th 2022 and the ability of the country to host such an important and unprecedented 1.2 million visitors all depends on the contributions of the millions of migrant workers. Within 20 days the match will be over and everything will be finished but we should not forget about the thousands of lives that were sacrificed to make the World Cup a success. We should not forget about the loss of family members and also the dehumanizing experiences and abuse and violation of the human rights that have emerged and suffered by workers even after the tournament is over.
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