At this point, the 2022 Qatar Soccer World Cup can be classified as the most scandalous World Cup in history. To the suspicions of the unique designation that led to the FIFA-Gate, now a new data has been added. And it is chilling. Little more than 6,500 migrant workers died since 2010, when the construction of seven new stadiums and all the infrastructure that will concentrate the event began.
According to an investigation published by the English newspaper The GuardianImmigrants from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh travel to the emirate to work on the construction of stadiums to host the matches, but also hotels, airports or transport lines. And in most cases they receive almost inhumane treatment.
“My life here is like being in a jail. The manager of the company said that if we want to stay to work in Qatar, we have to shut our mouths and continue working, “said Deepak, one of the metalworkers at the Khalifa stadium, in one of the testimonies collected by the British media.
The figures that were released correspond to the records carried out by these five countries. But the number is estimated to be much higher. Why? The last months of 2020 and the two months of this new year are not included. What is striking about this lack of official information is that despite the pandemic, works in Qatar never stopped.
The construction of the Ras Abu Aboud stadium, another one that is in decline towards the World Cup in Qatar.
Kenyans and Filipinos whose countries do not have an official number are also excepted, but according to the report they are a large percentage of those who work there.
In the fateful published ranking, India is the country with the highest number of deaths: 2,711; followed by Nepal, with 1,641; Bangladesh, 1,018; Pakistan, 824; and Sri Lanka, with 557.
For quite some time, “Amnesty International” has been denouncing innumerable irregularities with workers in Qatar. And several associations linked to Human Rights raised their voices in protest of the abuse and exploitation of workers.
According to published figures, they are almost 1,800,000 immigrants those who went through Pharaonic construction since 2010 (90% of the workforce). Khalifa Stadium alone has more than 3,200 immigrants working there on a daily basis. And the salaries according to the immigrant recruitment agency range between $ 500 and $ 2,000 per month.
Immigrant workers make up 90% of the reconstruction workforce in Qatar.
“There is a real lack of transparency around these deaths. It is extremely necessary for Qatar to strengthen its security standards, ”asked May Romanos of Amnesty International.
The authors of the report clarify that it is impossible to know how many of these occupational accidents have occurred in the works started up since the organization itself admits that only 37 were deaths within the works. A ridiculous figure given the reports from the different countries involved.
“It is likely that many workers have died in these infrastructure projects for the World Cup,” said Nick McGeehan, director of the Fair-Square Project, an organization of labor rights lawyers in the Persian Gulf countries in charge of the great transformation of the project.
Today, Qatar has more than one and a half million immigrants working in the country. And according to what has been disseminated, the estimate is that since the works began, there are 12 deaths per week.
The Khalifa Stadium, a stage for 40 thousand people specially built in Qatar for the World Cup.
However, most of the deaths are classified as “natural”, caused by heart or respiratory failure. Although there have also been suicides or deaths from traffic accidents. One of the main causes taken as “natural” is the overstress caused by the country’s high temperature.
The Government of Qatar apologized to the English newspaper in a statement in which they say that the number of deaths “is proportional to the mounted infrastructure” and that the figures include workers who die of natural causes after living many years in the emirate.
“However, every death is a tragedy and no effort is spared in trying to prevent every death in our country,” says the text published by the Executive.
“Qatar was asked to amend its law on autopsies to require forensic investigations into all sudden or unexplained deaths; and pass legislation to require that all death certificates include a reference to the cause of death ”, denounced Hiba Zayadin, a researcher in the Gulf of one of the organizations that raised the flag of the“ Human Rights Watch ”complaint.
As construction continues, Qatar continues to arouse countless suspicions. For now, between November and December of next year the World Cup will be played there. Whatever it takes.