Human rights organizations are demanding compensation payments from FIFA for migrant workers in Qatar. The world association has contributed to massive human rights violations and should pay at least 440 million euros.

Human rights organizations and football fans are demanding millions in compensation from the world association FIFA for migrant workers in Qatar. At least 440 million US dollars (about 420 million euros) must be made available for numerous human rights violations since the World Cup was awarded in 2010, according to an open letter from several organizations to FIFA President Gianni Infantino published on Thursday. This sum corresponds to the prize money at the final round at the end of the year.

Qatar: Human rights organizations are demanding compensation payments for migrant workers

The letter was signed by the human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the fan organization Football Supporters Europe (FSE). The massive violations of the rights of migrants in Qatar were known before the World Cup was awarded, said Amnesty Middle East expert Katja Müller-Fahlbusch. FIFA turned a blind eye to this and thus undeniably contributed to human rights abuses. In a statement, the world association pointed out, among other things, that numerous workers had already received compensation from the tournament organizers.

The amount of millions required is a minimum, according to the organization’s statement. However, the total “for unpaid wages, extortionate agency fees, and compensation for injuries and deaths could be far higher.” It should be “determined in a transparent and credible process”.

Qatar is also obliged to pay compensation for human rights violations, the authors continue. They acknowledge that the Gulf emirate has strengthened the rights of migrants through labor reforms. However, the reforms came too late for many workers and were only partially implemented.

Exploitation of migrant workers not uncommon in Qatar

The rich emirate is repeatedly criticized for systematic human rights violations and the exploitation of migrants. The government denies the allegations and is leading reforms in favor of foreign workers. This is how the kafala system was dismantled. This binds foreign workers tightly to a local guarantor such as an employer and often opens the door to exploitation.

According to Amnesty, around two million migrant workers live in Qatar. They come mainly from poor countries like Bangladesh, Nepal or India. Most of them work on construction sites. Many of these are related to the World Cup. According to various organizations, at least 15,000 migrant workers have died on stadium construction sites since Qatar was awarded the World Cup.

The soccer World Cup starts on November 21st and runs until December 18th.