"Slaves" die building World Cup soccer facilities in Qatar

The human cost of the planet's biggest sporting extravaganza.
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor
Glittering Qatar is hiding inhumane secrets as it prepares for the world's biggest sporting event, according to an investigative report in The Guardian.


Disturbing reading in The Guardian.

The U.K. paper reports that Qatar is abusing impoverished workers from Nepal and in some cases working them to death as the Middle East country races to build facilities and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup tournament. The World Cup, staged every four years, is the planet's largest sporting event.

Investigative journalist Pete Pattisson, reporting from Kathmandu and Doha, reveals:

"Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar's preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

"This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.

"According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents."

Pattisson describes workers escaping construction sites and taking refuge in the Nepalese embassy, as migrants from one of the world's poorest countries fall victim to "jobs" in one of the richest.

He chronicles forced labor, the withholding of wages to prevent workers from running away, the denial of drinking water in the desert, wretched living and eating conditions, and other practices that sound like they're from a bygone era but that are part of Qatar's zeal to build stadia, roads, hotels and other structures.

The BBC reports that the World Cup organizers are "appalled" by the revelations.

You can read the full Guardian story and watch a video, here.

Photo of Doha, Qatar is from latestnewssyria

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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