Qatar: 6,500 foreign workers are said to have died for the World Cup

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is the gloomy face of the FIFA World Cup set to take place in Qatar in 2022. According to estimates published by the British daily The Guardian, since the country obtained the right to organize the competition in December 2010, at least 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar. This represents an average of 12 South Asian migrant worker deaths each week.

In detail, 5,927 deceased workers came from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The Pakistani Embassy in Qatar reports 824 Pakistanis who died between 2010 and 2020. For The Guardian, the total number of deceased migrant workers would still remain very underestimated, since countries such as the Philippines or Kenya, have also sent large contingents to work in Qatar.

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To ensure the show of the World Cup, which will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022 and during which France will challenge its title, Qatar has embarked on a very ambitious program of work. In addition to the construction of seven stadiums, the country has also brought out of the ground a new airport, roads, public transport, a new city, hotels …

Two million migrants

It is on these sites that a significant number of these deaths would be concentrated. “A very large proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were in the country purely because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup,” Guardian, Nick McGeehan, director of a labor rights group, FairSquare Projects. Two million migrant workers are said to have come to Qatar to work on these sites.

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As for the exact causes of death, the emirate seems to be struggling to properly investigate, autopsies are hardly ever carried out. 80% of deaths among Indian workers and 48% of deaths among Nepalese workers are classified as “natural” deaths, which remains unclear. The heat could be an explanation.

The other causes of death are road accidents, suicides and work accidents. For the government of Qatar, which does not deny the figures, the number of deaths among Asian migrant workers is proportional to the size of the migrant workforce. “The frequency of accidents at FIFA World Cup construction sites has been low compared to other major construction projects around the world,” FIFA said, without providing further details.

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