A recently launched report Predictable and Preventable by Amnesty International says the remediation program should be governed in a participatory way following consultation with stakeholders including migrant workers, surviving family members, and trade unions.
It needs to be easily accessible to workers and families, many of whom will no longer be in Qatar. The report points to examples from other remediation programs such as those designed for victims of Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh.
FIFA says that it is currently ‘evaluating the proposal’ for the remedy fund. But rights groups say there is need for those with leverage over FIFA, including football associations, fans and sponsors, to ensure victims of abuse are provided adequate reparations. Football associations have found themselves under increasing pressure to speak up. And a few have set good examples.
Most recently at the FIFA congress in Doha, Lise Klaveness, the Norwegian FA President, called out FIFA’s failure to protect human rights when selecting Qatar to host the World Cup, urging it to ensure that migrant workers injured and families of the deceased are cared for.
Tim Sparv, a retired Finnish footballer who showed solidarity with the global campaign for remedy call on social media had previously written a compelling piece calling on players to engage more actively, ‘We need to talk about Qatar’.
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“I was unaware of what was really going on in Qatar. I tend to look at big organisations like FIFA and just assume that they know what they’re doing,” Sparv said.
Multiple teams including from Norway, Germany and the Netherlands have worn human rights jerseys during matches to protest against migrant rights abuses in Qatar.
As the tournament draws close and the cheers begin, the next six months will see increased pressure on FIFA and the Qatari authorities from fans, players and sponsors to ensure that workers harmed to make the tournament possible are adequately compensated.
By speaking up, fans from countries like Nepal where the workers are from also have an important role to ensure that families like that of Khaitun and Devi get some support.
As the country prepares to deliver the World Cup and host over 1.2 million visitors, migrant workers who form over 95 per cent of the Qatari workforce will again be indispensable. But there is danger that many will again be short-changed.
Read also: Nepal welcomes Qatar labour reform, Upasana Khadka
Migrants including Nepalis will be serving as waiters, security guards, housekeepers and drivers, among others during the tournament. Rights group warn that just as in the construction phase of the World Cup when stadium workers who formed less than 1.5 per cent of the total labor force were held at higher standards, only those service sector workers in luxury hotels or football training sites will be held at higher labor standards. The rest, who will also be serving World Cup visitors, might continue to fall between the cracks.
With the tournament drawing close, and as construction projects wrap up, the country is also said to be preparing to send back many workers on long leaves or for good. The worry is that the demobilisation plan may mean workers will be sent back without all their dues being cleared.
Citizens of Nepal and other south Asian countries toiled to transform the country from a desert to the gleaming state-of-the-art stadiums, accommodation and other infrastructure as it prepares to host the most popular global sporting event in the world.
Rights groups say that had Qatar followed through on its promises for reform and granted workers their basic rights, the World Cup would be viewed much differently — national pride at having helped enable the tournament that unites the world.
Instead, there is a bitter aftertaste about the last decade when scores of workers tied to the World Cup suffered due to the complacency of their own governments, the Qataris and FIFA. Many citizens of Nepal and other countries paid a high price for making the World Cup 2022 possible.
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