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Laborers in Qatar have become 'property'

Reports indicate over 100 migrants have died this year at construction sites while preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Tim Noonan of the International Trade Union Confederation says FIFA must intervene.

DW: According to a recently published report in the British newspaper, the Guardian, 44 Nepalese guest workers have died in Qatar from June 4 to August 8 at construction sites for the 2022 World Cup, and many others faced abusive working conditions. Can you explain to us how that could have happened?

Tim Noonan: Everything that we know about Qatar from our years of research into this problem shows that what the Guardian is saying is correct. The fundamental problem has two aspects. Firstly, Qatar has no proper labor law. The labor legislation does not give fundamental rights to workers. There is no right to organize a trade union for migrant workers. There is no right to collective bargaining or negotiation for migrant workers. There are no effective protections. This means that more than one million migrant workers from countries like Nepal or India, and elsewhere in South Asia, and increasingly now in Africa and Central Asia, are exposed to terrible exploitation. We know from official sources, from the embassies of India and Nepal in Qatar, that at least 400 workers die in Qatar every year.

They're dying because of the terrible working conditions and extremely poor living conditions in the labor camps, many of which are simply disgusting and unfit for human habitation. Workers who are working long hours in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) - sometimes, as revealed by the Guardian, without even being provided with water to drink. This is an absolute disgrace, and our concern is that if nothing is done, by the time the first football is kicked in the World Cup finals in 2022, at least 4,000 more workers are likely to have lost their lives. (www.dw.de)

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