The Guardian has reported that more than 6,500 migrant workers have already died in Qatar amid the nation’s preparation to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The report cites government data from the home nations of migrant workers, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The data have been compiled since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010, working out to an average of 12 deaths per week.
FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar despite widespread concerns over human rights violations and treatment of migrant workers. Amnesty International has since documented conditions of workers being “exploited” and “subjected to forced modern slave labor.”
The workforce can’t change jobs, they can’t leave the country, because their passport are confiscated and they often wait months to get paid,” a report from the human rights organization states.
According to The Guardian, 2,711 workers from India, 1,641 from Nepal, 1,018 from Bangladesh, 824 from Pakistan and 557 from Sri Lanka have died working in Qatar since 2010.
The Guardian estimates that the actual death toll of migrant workers is “considerably higher” since the data it cites is limited to the listed countries.
The nation with a population of less than 3 million is depending on 2 million migrant workers to man its labor force. The Philippines and Kenya are among other nations to send migrant workers to Qatar.
The listed causes of death include electrocution, blunt injuries due to a fall from height and suicide. Most of the deaths are listed as “natural” while citing heart or respiratory failure.
Daytime temperatures in Qatar can approach 120 degrees during the summer. Normally played in the summer, Qatar’s World Cup will be held in November and December because of the oppressive heat.
Qatar has built or is building seven new stadiums in addition to significant infrastructure upgrades, including roadways, hotels and an airport in preparation to host the World Cup.
The opening and closing matches will be held at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, a city being built from the ground up ahead of the World Cup.
According to Amnesty International, migrant workers seek employment in Qatar to escape poverty and unemployment at home.
It describes dirty living conditions with eight workers living in a single room once they arrive. Workers are sometimes promised one salary only to be provided a lower wage once they arrive.
The group spoke to workers who agreed to anywhere from $500 to $4,300 in recruitment fees to criminal minded human trafficking agents that left them in debt before they began working in Qatar, as the means show how enslaved labor has been forced upon them.
Yahoo Sports / ABC Flash point News 2021.