There is a graphic circulating the internet right now, which compares the death tolls for constructing different World Cups and Olympic games – Qatar comes out, by far, the worst.
An estimated 1,200 migrant workers have died since Qatar started constructing its 2022 World Cup stadiums. The country was awarded the competition in 2010.
Now Qatar is claiming the death toll estimate is completely wrong, saying NO workers have died so far during construction, let alone 1,200. The state news agency has released a rebuttal saying:
“An article in the Washington Post on 27 May (“The Human Toll of FIFA’s Corruption”) claimed that 4,000 workers are likely to die while working on World Cup sites, and that some 1,200 had already lost their lives. This is completely untrue. In fact, after almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost. Not one.
“In preparing its report, it appears that the Post simply took the total annual mortality figures for Indian and Nepalese migrants working in Qatar and multiplied those numbers by the years remaining between now and the 2022 World Cup — a calculation which assumes that the death of every migrant worker in Qatar is work related.
The release goes on to say that “enormous damage has been done to Qatar’s image and reputation” and asks for a retraction and correction from the Post.
Qatar is not the only one questioning the statistics. Other online blogs have pointed out that the ITUC’s methodology of assuming every migrant worker death in Qatar is related to the World Cup is probably a little flawed.
A Qatar-commissioned report into worker conditions claimed close to 1,000 migrant workers died in 2012 and 2013, although none died while at work.
But the Washington Post isn’t the only one in drawing attention to deaths and poor working conditions during the construction of Qatar’s World Cup. Last year a Guardian investigation estimated that Nepalese workers were dying at a rate of two a day.
A report last year by Humans Rights Watch also found migrants suffered “serious rights violations, including forced labour and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar.”
Qatar has tried to stop the press reporting on migrant work conditions, arresting a group of BBC reporters last month.