Concerns About Human Rights in the World Cup

The Conditions of Migrant Workers and Dangers of Being Gay In Qatar Have Many Human Rights Activists Concerned

An image of a migrant worker who built Qatar’s World Cup Stadiums. From CNN:

Henry Colley-Lambright, Staff Writer

The World Cup in Qatar is supposed to entertain the world, showing one of, if not the biggest sport in the world. But many are upset because of the treatment of minorities and players who attempt to show support for these groups.

The only openly gay top-flight football player, Josh Cavallo, after telling CNN that he feels excluded by FIFA.

One of the most controversial decisions was to even have the World Cup in Qatar. Qatar is known for its laws establishing a punishment of up to 7 years in prison for anyone in a same-sex relationship. Many are also concerned about the number of migrants who died after being mistreated and forced to work in dangerous conditions. Overall, many are upset by the choice to have the World Cup in Qatar.

CNN cites that over 6,500 migrant worker deaths have occurred in Qatar since the country was awarded the World Cup in 2010, according to a study by The Guardian. While the Qatar World Cup Chief claims that only between 400 and 500 deaths occurred during construction for the World Cup, CNN also claims that workers are treated inhumanely and are being forced to labor in dangerous and hot environments. It’s also likely that some migrant workers went without payment for their work. These extremely poor conditions are cause for many, considering how these numbers may show how Qatar abused its migrants.

Another large concern of many is the poor treatment of people from the LGBTQ+ community. The initial plan of several teams to wear “OneLove” armbands was struck down by FIFA deciding that anyone entering the field wearing the armband will receive a yellow card. CNN quotes Liz Ward, a leader in the Stonewall charity, “It’s quite scary for LGBTQ plus communities around the world to see our lives be so controversial.”  This sentiment is echoed by many who were hoping to show their support by wearing the armband.

Amidst all of this controversy, some people are fighting back. On Nov. 21 England’s team took a knee before playing a match. Fox News also reported that Iranian players displayed thumbs down to show their support for protests in their home country. Rolling Stone reports that an Italian protestor named Mario Ferri ran onto the field during Portugal vs. Uruguay match on Nov. 28. Ferri ran on the field with a pride flag and shirt to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community, women, and Ukraine. It seems human rights activists won’t give up even in a very conservative country.

So should the World Cup have been held in Qatar? Some human rights activists are upset by the decision and are showing their disapproval. So the question remains:  should protestors be disrupting the sport to demonstrate their displeasure with the treatment how other humans are being treated or should sports matches be absent of any form of politics?