A shocking report has revealed that at least 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since they were appointed as hosts of the 2022 World Cup – and that number is likely to be an underestimate.
The Middle Eastern country was announced as the host for 2022 back in December 2010, but their success has been shrouded in controversy ever since.
And a shocking report from The Guardian has shown that at least 6,500 migrant workers have died over the past decade, meaning on average, at least 12 have lost their lives every week.
The total figure is expected to be much higher, as the data collected does not include deaths from countries such as Kenya and the Philippines, and does not take into account any fatalities in the final months of 2020.
This death toll is not entirely related to the construction of new stadia and facilities for the upcoming World Cup, but Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Projects, has linked the surge in deaths to the huge sporting competition.
“A very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup,” McGeehan said.
What is equally as concerning is Qatar’s disregard for these lives, with many of the deaths attributed to ‘natural causes’ and not to their working conditions. 37 deaths have been directly connected with the construction of stadia for the World Cup, but the organising committee has classified them as ‘non-work related’.
May Romanos, Gulf researcher for Amnesty International, has lambasted the ‘lack of clarity and transparency surrounding the deaths’, and has called for Qatar to strengthen its protection of its workers.
“There is a real lack of clarity and transparency surrounding these deaths,” Romanos said. “There is a need for Qatar to strengthen its occupational health and safety standards.”
The World Cup organising committee has spoken out over the countless deaths, and stated they will ‘investigate each incident to ensure lessons were learned’.
“We deeply regret all of these tragedies and investigated each incident to ensure lessons were learned. We have always maintained transparency around this issue and dispute inaccurate claims around the number of workers who have died on our projects.”
However, FIFA have predictably backed the project, claiming ‘the frequency of accidents’ has ‘been low’ in comparison to other major construction projects, although they were unable to support their statement with any genuine evidence.
“With the very stringent health and safety measures on site…the frequency of accidents on FIFA World Cup construction sites has been low when compared to other major construction projects around the world.”