Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has said that it is committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of every worker on World Cup projects.

This reaction is sequel to claims by Amnesty International that the working conditions of immigrants at the Khalifa International Stadium and the green spaces in the surrounding Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar were still far from satisfactory.

But Qatar officials maintained yesterday that conditions of the workforce has since improved since after the Amnesty International investigations carried out in February last year.

“We have maintained a constructive working relationship with labour organisations, including Amnesty International, to achieve these goals. However, the tone of Amnesty International’s latest assertion paints a misleading picture and do nothing to contribute to our efforts.

“Amnesty International’s investigation was limited to just four companies out of more than 40 currently engaged on Khalifa International Stadium– Eversendai, Seven Hills, Blue Bay and Nakheel Landscapes. The conditions reported were not representative of the entire work force on Khalifa,” observed Supreme Committee chief, Hassan al-Thawadi in a statement yesterday.

He acknowledged that Amnesty identified challenges in worker conditions existed during early 2015.
“But as a result of the Supreme Committee’s continued enforcement and monitoring efforts, many of the issues raised had been addressed by June of 2015, months before the publication of Amnesty’s report.

“In June 2015 – seven months before Amnesty contacted us – Nakheel Landscapes had undergone a comprehensive rectification process, and are one of the most compliant companies on site. Eversendai, although having gone through a significant rectification process, have been banned from subsequent World Cup projects until they can demonstrate sustainable improvements.

“Seven Hills and Blue Bay have not worked on World Cup Projects since June 2015 and are no longer eligible to work on future projects, until they demonstrate they are compliant with our standards,” the statement further clarified.

The Qatar 2022 official said further that Amnesty has acknowledged the SC’s Workers’ Welfare Standards work.
“We have always maintained this World Cup will act as a catalyst for change – it will not be built on the back of exploited workers. We wholly reject any notion that Qatar is unfit to host the World Cup,” concludes the al-Thawadi.

Also yesterday, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability, Federico Addiechi, issued a statement saying that it is fully aware of the risks facing construction workers in Qatar.
“Challenges remain, but FIFA is confident that the structures and processes set-up so far by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is the entity responsible for the delivery of FIFA World Cup infrastructure, provide a good basis to monitor labour rights of migrant workers on FIFA World Cup stadium construction sites.

“These processes include the Workers’ Welfare Standards in place since 2014, a compliance check for all tenderers, regular reporting that is publically available and a four-tier system of auditing. This approach and these measures have been discussed with the key stakeholders, including Amnesty International.

“Furthermore, FIFA will continue to urge the competent governmental authorities in Qatar and other stakeholders to also take action and ensure that such standards become the benchmark for construction projects in Qatar,” concludes the FIFA statement.

Amnesty International yesterday alleged rights violations at a 2022 tournament venue.
The London-based watchdog said labourers at the Khalifa International Stadium, mostly from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, were lied to over their salaries, went unpaid for months and were housed in squalid accommodation, which it claims amount to forced labour.

Qatar currently employs about 5,100 workers on World Cup sites. Their number will peak at 36,000 by 2018