Monday, 1 June 2015

Qatar World Cup human cost

Qatar is famous for being one of the richest nations in the world thanks to its oil wealth and its strategic location. It has developed economically and infrastructurally over the last 20 years along with the rest of the Persian Gulf countries UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Doha has begun to resemble a mini Dubai but without the fast pace life and glitz and glam. Qatar is home to Al Jazeera 24/7 news network and enjoys good relations with the United States. Qatar was also one of the main Gulf monarchies to jump with the international community chorus in bombing Libya to remove Gaddafi and support the rebels despite Gaddafi's prophetic warning about the chaos that would be unleashed if he removed from power. Qatar has been playing devil's advocate. The Qataris (the government) have been supporting the United States and Saudi Arabia against ISIS and rebel groups seeking to overthrow the corrupt gulf monarchies. At the same time it has allowed Wahhabi and takfiri brand of Islam to flourish inside its own borders and has promoted wahhabism to other parts of the Levant and North Africa.

Doha, capital of Qatar. This is how Qatar wants the world to see. A place for the rich, a home away from home for expats and wealthy migrants. Nevermind the reality of ordinary people and migrant workers' problems beyond the gleaming towers.

Modern day slavery and hell 

Also like other Gulf countries, Qatar relies on a large foreign population of migrant workers from Nepal, India-Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, elsewhere to build its gleaming new cities. Hundreds of migrant workers have been contracted to build many new cities and stadiums which some sports journalists see as wasteful in time for the 2022 World Cup. Many people are terrified of the scorching heat during the summer months of the world cup if Qatar is cleared after this scandal to continue hosting it. Hundreds of migrant workers have died in the heat during construction work and from dehydration. Many migrant workers living and working in Qatar and United Arab Emirates often face slavery conditions. Crammed like sardines into working camp dormitories only meant for ten people at the most, healthcare is difficult to come by, often isolated from the local population, barred from legal aid and access to assistance from attorneys and lawyers, their passports are confiscated from by contact men under locally based contractors from the migrants' homelands at the airport which makes traveling and escaping slave labor conditions in impossible. Many workers do not receive their salaries from weeks to months on it. Many workers are often in debt from previous loans back home and some trafficked. Both male and female workers are abused often verbally, physically and sexually. Out of frustration many workers demand to return home only after realizing that the abuse and modern day slavery is not worth loosing their humanity, dignity and sanity for money.

Forced Labour to bring the World Cup to Qatar

Fear reigns supreme

The fear of facing jail time and possible life threatening harm, has made many migrant workers' fearful of publicly protesting for their rights or creating a larger national wide movement for migrant workers' protection and economic rights. 

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