Those affected report on working conditions and call for a boycott

FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup there was and is being met with loud criticism. There are many calls for a boycott of the World Cup. Soccer official Andreas Rettig said on the podium that he thought the award was a “crazy idea”.

The panel discussion in Frankfurt was organized by the Boycott Qatar 2022 campaign, the fan organization Our Curve, the network Never Again and the initiative board games, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation financed it – and invited five people affected.

Extreme dependency ratio for foreign workers

“Since the award, our focus has been more on Qatar,” says Katja Müller-Fahlbusch, an expert on the Gulf region at Amnesty International Germany. “But even before the award in 2010, the human rights situation was documented in reports. That’s our criticism of Fifa: the situation was known.” Amnesty International estimates that 15,000 people have died from overwork and overheating or violence while working for the soccer World Cup in Qatar. In the foyer of the building, series of pictures and stories of the seriously injured and the bereaved are exhibited.

Event in Frankfurt: Those affected talk about working conditions.
Event in Frankfurt: Those affected talk about working conditions. (Source: Sophie Vorgrimler)

“A lot has also improved,” says Jeevan KC. When it started in Qatar, the kafala system applied, in which employers guarantee workers. Different laws apply to foreign workers, which creates an extreme relationship of dependency. “You made a commitment to stay for at least two years. If you want to go home earlier, you need a certificate from your employer, which of course they often don’t want to issue,” he says.

Back then, you would have had to get protective equipment yourself, but today it is provided. “If you want to create complaints or have documents translated, you have to pay for it yourself.” But often it was about the fact that the salary was not paid. Today he is a member of a network for migrant workers and a health, safety and environmental officer on construction sites in Qatar.

Arrested for testimonies

Malcolm Bidali came to Qatar from Kenya in January 2010. “We too were housed in so-called labor camps outside of the city, up to 12 people in one room,” he says. “We didn’t have a kitchen, but we didn’t get any catering either. Eating well is a human right.”

Bidali worked as a security guard and guard. “In my second company, overtime was not voluntary, I often worked ten, twelve or more hours a day. In addition, I had to travel from far away.” It was his downfall that he began to write down his experiences and those of his colleagues and regularly publish them on a website. “After a year I was arrested.” After his release, he went back to Kenya, where he founded an aid organization for migrants.