12/09/2022, 00.00
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Workers keep on dying during FIFA World Cup Qatar2022

by Stefano Vecchia

One Philippine migrant fell to his death during repair work at a FIFA training base, adding one more victim to the thousands who perished during construction. Human Rights Watch slams the indifference of the organisers. Back in the Philippines, a poll suggests that most Filipinos still think the World Cup spreads positivity and unites the world.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Philippine migrant worker employed at a World Cup site in Qatar died during the tournament eliciting no interest on the part of Qatari authorities or FIFA.

Alex, last name unknown, fell to his death recently while doing repair work at a FIFA training base, Human Rights Watch reported in a strongly worded statement, reacting to the event organisers’ failure to comment on what happened.

Alex's is but the latest of thousands of deaths among migrant workers. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, some 6,500 workers lost their lives during the preparatory phase of a sporting event already in the crosshairs for abuses reported by many parties over the years.

Unlike many other deaths that were not investigated, local authorities, under the world spotlight, contacted Alex’s family in the Philippines and launched an investigation into his case to determine the causes of his death.

However, Qatar2022 organisers and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura failed to show any sensitivity.

“This shameful government attitude towards migrant worker deaths is reflected in the authorities’ failure to investigate the thousands of migrant worker deaths since 2010. It also ignores that many of these deaths were preventable,” reads the Human Rights Watch statement.

“Instead, the authorities regularly attributed these uninvestigated deaths to ‘natural causes’ or ‘cardiac arrest.’ This leaves many families of migrant workers ineligible for compensation under the Qatari labour law.”

“The Qatari Supreme Committee was quick to deny the death was under its jurisdiction, even though at the time of his death, Alex was repairing FIFA infrastructure,” the New York-based advocacy group added.

Last but not least, “The FIFA and Qatari authorities’ responses exemplify their entities’ longstanding disregard for migrant workers’ lives, repeated obfuscation of key facts, and the failure to take responsibility for migrant workers’ safety.”

Despite reports about how Philippine migrant workers are treated in Qatar, back home a survey indicates that about 60 per cent of core Philippine football fans still believe the World Cup can spread positivity and unite the world, the Manila-based Business World reports.

TGM Research, a market research company, found similar support around the world. 

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