FIFA 2022 World Cup host nation, Qatar, in the face of mounting criticism – particularly from the West – are now taking steps to ensure strict international labour laws are observed not only in the country’s 2022 World Cup construction sites but also in other sites.
Following strong criticisms on her work ethics, the country’s labour authorities have embarked on numerous corrective measures.
The country’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has shut down 40 construction sites for failing to comply with the summer schedule for outdoor works. The ministry alleged that the construction companies violated the country’s Law 16 of 2007, which requires all companies to stop outdoor works from 11.30 am to 3pm to protect workers from being exposed to direct sunlight and extreme heat.
The authoritative The Peninsula quotes ministry officials as saying in a statement that it had conducted 475 surprise raids at different sites between June 15 to June 30.
The action came on the heels of growing international support for Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup project from the gulf states and from an unlikely source, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
A report quoted FIFA’s Domenico Scala as saying, “Russia and Qatar may lose their rights to host the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 if there was evidence that they paid bribes to secure that privilege.”
The gulf regional governments reacted immediately against what they perceived as an orchestrated campaign by the west to undermine the independence of Qatar. Information ministers from the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), met in Doha last month and agreed on a common front, with the aim of establishing solidarity with the State of Qatar to address what they saw as malicious campaigns that could hamper the country’s chances of hosting the World Cup in 2022. .
Gulf Information Ministers in their 23rd meeting in Doha and confirmed by the GCC Ministerial Council during it’s recent meeting at Riyadh Air Base, expressed “strong condemnation of the campaign which is trying to undermine the maturity of the State of Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 championship.”
In a related development, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson faced criticism for sending London fire fighters to help Qatar in its preparations for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Labour’s London fire spokeswoman, Fiona Twycross, said: “Boris Johnson must be the only person on the planet not to know that there are serious human rights and health and safety problems in Qatar.
“The fact is that Qatar’s record on construction projects is appalling. Hundreds of workers have died on construction sites as part of Qatar’s World Cup preparations. The idea that we should be sending fire brigade staff into that environment is unbelievable. The Mayor’s eagerness to turn a quick profit is frankly tasteless and risks damaging the reputation of the LFB.”
The Mayor on his part does not believe isolating Qatar was the best step to correct the country’s perceived human rights abuse. Mr Johnson said: “There is not a clear-cut argument to say that refusing to trade with a country with a questionable human rights record would result in an improvement to that record.
“London and Qatar are trading partners and London’s transport and police services are already providing consultancy to the country, with the support of UK Trade and Investment.
“It would be inconsistent if the LFB were prevented from providing their world-class expertise to help deliver a major infrastructure project like Qatar’s underground system.”
Qatar has been accused over its treatment of migrant workers, who campaigners say are made to work long hours in searing temperatures for low pay, and live in overcrowded and often squalid accommodation. They estimate a migrant construction worker died every two days last year. The Qatari government disputes the figures.