With the 2022 FIFA World Cup having kicked off in Qatar, Parliament deplores the deaths of thousands of migrant workers ahead of the tournament.

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Qatar. MEPs highlight that the Gulf state won the FIFA World Cup bidding process amidst credible allegations of bribery and corruption. They deplore the deaths of thousands of migrant workers primarily in the construction sector who helped the country prepare for the tournament, as well as all those injured.

Describing the corruption within FIFA as “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted”, MEPs also deplore that the process to award the football World Cup to Qatar in 2010 was not transparent and lacked responsible risk-assessment, and underscore how FIFA has seriously damaged the image and integrity of global football.

Parliament urges EU countries, particularly those with large national football leagues, such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, to exert pressure on UEFA and FIFA to fundamentally reform FIFA. This would include introducing democratic and transparent procedures when awarding football World Cups and strictly implementing human rights and sustainability criteria for hosting countries.

To protect athletes and fans and put an end to sportswashing, international sporting events should not be awarded to countries in which fundamental and human rights are violated, and where systematic gender-based violence is prevalent.

All victims of World Cup preparations should be compensated

With an estimated more than 2 million foreign nationals making up some 94% of the country’s workforce, the resolution welcomes the fact that, according to the International Labour Organization, the Qatari government has reimbursed USD 320 million to wage abuse victims through the so-called “Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund”. MEPs regret, however, that many workers in Qatar and their families have been excluded from its scope and call for the fund to be extended to include all those affected since the work related to the FIFA World Cup began, covering also workers’ deaths and other human rights abuses.

They also call on FIFA to contribute to a comprehensive remediation programme for workers’ families as compensation for the conditions to which they have been subjected.

Full investigations needed

Acknowledging the important contribution of migrant workers to Qatar’s economy and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Parliament urges the Qatari authorities to conduct full investigations into the deaths of migrant workers in the country and to compensate to families in cases where workers died as a result of their working conditions. It also supports Qatar’s recent efforts to improve the conditions and rights of workers, which the international community has raised, but calls for the full implementation of the adopted reforms.

MEPs deplore the abuse perpetrated by the country’s authorities on the LGBTQ+ community. This includes the use of domestic laws that allow for LGBTQ+ persons to be provisionally detained without charge or trial for up to six months. The resolution also urges Qatar to strengthen gender equality measures, including abolishing the remnants of the women’s guardianship, while stepping up efforts to increase the representation of women in the formal labour market.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands.