Qatar official admits 500 migrant workers died while working on World Cup projects

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for ‘Delivery and Legacy’ at the FIFA World Cup 2022, said in an interview that the exact number is still being discussed. Thawadi told the TV show Piers Morgan Uncensored that the estimate is somewhere between 400 and 500.

Doha: The approximate figure of how many laborers have lost their lives due to the preparation of FIFA World Cup 2022 has been received. This disclosure has been made by Hassan Al-Thawadi, Qatar’s top official associated with organizing the FIFA World Cup. Hassan is the Secretary-General of Qatar’s Apex Committee on ‘Delivery and Legacy’. The official has said that the number of migrant workers who died on World Cup-related projects is ‘between 400 and 500’

400-500 migrant workers died while working on World Cup projects

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for ‘Delivery and Legacy’ at the FIFA World Cup 2022, said in an interview that the exact number is still being discussed. Thawadi told the TV show Piers Morgan Uncensored that the estimate is somewhere between 400 and 500.

There are trade unions for the workers working on the World Cup sites. Following the interview, Nicholas McGeehan of the advocacy group Fair Square expressed anger at Thawadi’s comments, saying it was the latest example of Qatar’s inexcusable lack of transparency on the issues of worker deaths. Nicholas McGeehan said that we need proper data and thorough investigation, not vague figures announced through media interviews. FIFA and Qatar still have many questions to answer. At least where, when and how these people were killed and whether their families got compensation.

The apex committee has always maintained that only 40 migrant workers have died at World Cup stadiums since construction began for the tournament in 2014. Of these, three died during work and 37 due to other reasons. According to the Qatar government, a total of 15,021 expatriates died in the country between 2010 and 2019. The Guardian’s report states that ever since Qatar got the hosting of the FIFA World Cup, more than 6500 expatriates have died there till 2021. All of them were residents of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

However, the government did not break down the deaths by location, work or other factors. The Qatar government has also told that 30,000 foreign laborers were employed to build the FIFA World Cup stadium. Apart from all this, the International Labor Organization (ILO) found that in 2020, 50 people died during work. 500 were seriously injured and 37,600 had mild to moderate injuries. In 2021 the Guardian published research which showed that more than 6,500 migrant workers from five countries – India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – had died in Qatar between early 2011 and 2020. In 2011 itself, Qatar won the right to host the world.

Qatar’s government then responded to the Guardian’s data, saying that the death rate among these communities was within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population. The official figure of three stadium work-related World Cup deaths (40) was reiterated by FIFA and the same number (40) in an address to the European Council this year by its president, Gianni Infantino.

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s head of economic and social justice, said the ongoing debate about the number of workers killed in World Cup preparation highlights the reality that so many bereaved families are still waiting for the truth and justice. Huh. Over the past decade, thousands of workers have returned home in coffins, with no explanation given to their loved ones.

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