Qatar says worker deaths for World Cup ‘between 400 and 500’

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A prime 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 larger quantity than another 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 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 strains and new infrastructure wanted for the match.

Within the interview, portions of which Morgan posted online, the British journalist asks al-Thawadi: “What’s the trustworthy, reasonable whole do you consider migrant staff who died from – because 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 by Qatari officers beforehand. Stories from the Supreme Committee relationship from 2014 by way 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.

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

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Al-Thawadi pointed to these figures when discussing work simply on stadiums within the interview, proper earlier than providing the “between 400 to 500” loss of life toll for all of the infrastructure for the match.

In a later assertion, the Supreme Committee mentioned al-Thawadi was referring to “nationwide statistics overlaying the interval of 2014-2020 for all work-related fatalities (414) nationwide in Qatar, overlaying all sectors and nationalities.”

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 immediately from their employers. It additionally has up to date its employee security guidelines to forestall deaths.

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

Activists have known as on Doha to do extra, notably with regards to guaranteeing 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.

“That is simply the newest instance of Qatar’s inexcusable lack of transparency on the problems of staff’ deaths,” mentioned Nicholas McGeehan of Fairsquare, a London-based group which advocates for migrant staff within the Center East. “We’d like correct information and thorough investigations, not imprecise figures introduced by way of media interviews.

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“FIFA and Qatar nonetheless have lots of inquiries to reply, not least the place, when, and the way did these males die and did their households obtain compensation.”

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

“For him now to come back and say there’s lots of, it’s surprising,” he informed The Related Press. “They don’t know what’s happening.”


AP Sports activities Author Graham Dunbar contributed to this report.


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