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HRW urges FIFA and Qatar to increase workers’ compensation

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BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — With 100 days to go before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Human Rights Watch on Friday again urged FIFA and the host nation to improve compensation for migrant workers and their families.

The human rights group called for “a program to remedy compensation for workers who have been seriously harmed, including death, injury and wage theft” while working on World Cup-related projects such as stadiums, transportation and hotels.

Qatar has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure since it was chosen to host it in 2010. It is also facing an intense overhaul of its labor laws and the treatment of hundreds of thousands of workers, many from South Asia, who have migrated to the tiny emirate. to build projects.

“Qatar has compensated some migrant workers who faced serious abuse in recent years, but for most these programs were created too late and are still in the works,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Since 2010, the agency has stated that the level “of human rights abuses without compensation … is significant.”

In Qatar, the Workers Support Fund has paid $164 million in compensation to 36,373 workers from 17 countries since 2020, HRW said, citing information from the Qatar Ministry of Labor.

The organization did not give a figure for how much more compensation is needed, although Amnesty International suggested that FIFA pay $440 million in workers’ compensation – to match the amount the body will pay in prize money to the 32 federations of the nations that They will play in Qatar.

FIFA and tournament organizers have cited the World Cup as the catalyst for the modernization of laws and society in Qatar.

In May, in response to Amnesty International, organizers in Qatar pointed to “significant improvements in accommodation standards, health and safety regulations, complaints mechanisms, health provision and reimbursement of illegal recruitment fees to workers”.

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