Football: EU alarm exaggerated, premature, Qatar tells EP

After slave labor resolution;prevention a joint effort says FIFA

22 November, 14:03

    Foreign laborers work in Doha Foreign laborers work in Doha

    (ANSAmed) - DOHA, NOVEMBER 22 - The Qatari government on Friday downplayed media and NGO reports that it violates migrant workers' rights.
    The reports are ''exaggerated'', and yesterday's European Parliament emergency resolution on the issue is ''premature'', a foreign ministry spokesman said.
    The resolution condemns human rights violations of migrant workers in Qatar and calls on FIFA to send the Gulf nation ''a clear and strong'' message that the 2022 World Cup stadiums must not be built with slave labor.Practices include confiscating passports and denying wages to people forced to work long hours in searing heat and live in squalid, overcrowded camps. An estimated 500,000 foreign construction laborers are expected in Qatar to work on World Cup infrastructure.

    FIFA's responsibilities ''go beyond the game of football'', the resolution said. ''We cannot allow the 2022 World Cup to be built on slavery'', said Socialists and Democrats group leader Hannes Swoboda, adding he was ''baffled'' by the fact that center-right MEPs did not support the resolution.

    FIFA replied it will take more than the football federation to remedy a situation, which must be tackled by economic players, the international community, and Qatari authorities as well. ''FIFA is willing to work with all relevant organisms and authorities to resolve this issue and ensure that the protection of foreign workers' rights be considered a matter of urgency'', the federation said in a communique.

    Human rights watchdog groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a UN special envoy for migrants' rights have documented violations in Qatar including passport seizures, withheld wages, degrading living conditions and dangerous work environments. These add up to slave labor, the agencies charged. (ANSAmed).

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