World Cup security guards subjected to forced labor, Amnesty International says | Football News Sky News

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Security guards in Qatar are working in conditions that amount to forced labor, including projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Amnesty International.

In a new 73-page report – They think we are machines – Amnesty International, released on Thursday, documented the experiences of 34 current or former employees of eight private security companies in Qatar.

The main conclusions of the report were:

  • Security guards in Qatar are working in conditions that amount to forced labor, including projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Amnesty International.
  • Amnesty has also documented discrimination based on race, national origin and language.
  • Fifteen guards Amnesty interviewed were regularly deployed outdoors in intense heat and in some cases without shelter or drinking water, including during the summer months when outdoor work is believed to be restricted.
  • Fundamental legal reforms addressing labor force problems are not being implemented effectively.

The 34 workers were employed by eight different private companies that served sites such as ministries and football stadiums, as well as other key infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup, such as hotels, transportation systems and sports facilities. At least three companies have provided security for recent FIFA tournaments, including the Club World Cup and the FIFA Arab Cup.

Qatari laws and regulations limit the weekly working hours to a maximum of 60 hours, including overtime, with workers entitled to one full day of paid rest each week. This reflects international law and standards – rest is a fundamental human right. Despite this, 29 of the 34 security guards who spoke to Amnesty International said they regularly worked 12 hours a day and 28 said they were not routinely allowed, meaning many worked 84 hours a day for weeks.

Amnesty’s report also revealed that four of the companies named in the report still do not pay overtime at the rate required by law, meaning that in some cases they cheat the guards out of eight days’ pay each month.

Picture:
World Cup on display in Qatar

Amnesty’s in-depth interviews with 34 current or former security officers, auditors and security officers between April 2021 and February 2022 are based on previous interviews with 25 security officers at a security company between 2017 and 2018. The consistency of their accounts across multiple companies indicates that these abuses were systematic. Altogether, tens of thousands of migrant workers work in the private security sector in Qatar – a large workforce, often under significant job pressure and in some cases very serious abuses.

Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Economic and Social Justice Officer, said: “Employers continue to exploit their workers in public, and Qatari authorities must act urgently to protect workers and hold perpetrators accountable.

“Many of the security guards we spoke to knew their employers were breaking the law, but they felt powerless to challenge them.

“Physically and emotionally exhausted workers continued to work under the threat of financial penalties – or worse, termination or dismissal.

“Despite the progress Qatar has made in recent years, our research shows that abuses in the private security sector, which will be increasingly strained during the World Cup, remain systemic and structural.

“Only months away from the World Cup, FIFA should focus its efforts on preventing abuses in the inherently dangerous private security industry or see the tournament still marred by abuses. More generally, FIFA should also use its influence to pressure Qatar to implement its reforms and enforce its laws. Time is running out – if best practices aren’t built now, abuse will continue long after fans return home. »

Sky Sports News has contacted FIFA for a response.

Meanwhile, FIFA did not respond to Amnesty International’s allegations, instead citing Amnesty International from an earlier letter from them and High Committee communications.