Qatar Places World Cup Employee Deaths at ‘Between 400 and 500’

DOHA, Qatar — A high Qatari official concerned within the nation’s World Cup group has put the variety of employee deaths for the match “between 400 and 500” for the primary time, a drastically increased quantity than every other beforehand provided by Doha.

The remark by Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary-general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy, appeared to come back off the cuff throughout an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan.

It additionally threatened to reinvigorate criticism by human rights teams over what the toll of internet hosting the Center East’s first World Cup for the migrant labor that constructed over $200 billion value of stadiums, metro traces and new infrastructure wanted for the match.

The Supreme Committee and Qatar’s authorities didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Tuesday.

Within the interview, parts of which Morgan posted on-line, the British journalist asks al-Thawadi: “What’s the trustworthy, reasonable complete do you consider migrant staff who died from – on account of work they’re doing for the World Cup in totality?”

“The estimate is round 400, between 400 and 500,” al-Thawadi responds. “I don’t have the precise quantity. That’s one thing that’s been mentioned.”

However that determine hasn’t been mentioned publicly beforehand. Reviews from the Supreme Committee courting from 2014 by means of the top of 2021 solely embrace the variety of deaths of staff concerned in constructing and refurbishing the stadiums now internet hosting the World Cup.

Learn Extra: A Qatar-Style World Cup Building Boom May Not Be Possible in a Hotter World

These launched figures put the full variety of deaths at 40. They embrace 37 from what the Qataris describe as nonwork incidents corresponding to coronary heart assaults and three from office incidents. One report additionally individually lists a employee dying from the coronavirus amid the pandemic.

Since FIFA awarded the match to Qatar in 2010, the nation has taken some steps to overtake the nation’s employment practices. That features eliminating its so-called kafala employment system, which tied staff to their employers, who had say over whether or not they may depart their jobs and even the nation.

Qatar additionally has adopted a minimal month-to-month wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275) for staff and required meals and housing allowances for workers not receiving these advantages straight from their employers. It additionally has up to date its employee security guidelines to forestall deaths.

“One dying is a dying too many. Plain and easy,” al-Thawadi provides within the interview.

Activists have known as on Doha to do extra, notably relating to making certain staff obtain their salaries on time and are protected against abusive employers.

Al-Thawadi’s remark additionally renews questions on the veracity of each authorities and personal enterprise reporting on employee accidents and deaths throughout the Gulf Arab states, whose skyscrapers have been constructed by laborers from South Asia nations like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Mustafa Qadri, the manager director of Equidem Analysis, a labor consultancy that has revealed experiences on the toll of the development on migrant laborers, mentioned he was stunned by al-Thawadi’s comment.

“For him now to come back and say there’s a whole bunch, it’s stunning,” he informed The Related Press. “They don’t know what’s occurring.”

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