Qatar World Cup final on International Migrants Day 2022

What you can do: United Nations International Migrants Day (IMD)will be marked once again this year on 18 December.

This year, IMD will be happening when the attention of millions of people across the world will be focused on the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

It is appropriate to remember that the month-long festival of the world’s most popular support on this occasion would not have been possible without the labour of a large migrant workforce.

Qatar has a population of 3 million people, two-thirds of who are migrants.  They make up 95% of the country’s workforce.  During the 12 years it has taken to prepare the country for the World Cup migrant labour has been essential to the construction of new football stadia, hotels, metro, airport, and other infrastructure related to the competition.

The conditions in which migrants work are reported as often being very poor. Amnesty International (AI) has provided case studies of cramped, dirty and unsafe accommodation with men sleeping on bunk beds in rooms for eight or more people. Workers are recruited with promises of apparently high salaries which turn out to have around the half of the value when paid as wages. 

AI also reports that the payment of wages cab be delayed several months.  It described the disastrous consequences for the people concerned, with many “unable to buy food, send money to their family back home or make payments on recruitment-related loans.”

There has been controversy over the years of preparation for the World Cup about worker fatalities on the many construction sites and the other workplaces where the use of migrant labour predominates. Human Rights Watch (HRW) argues that whatever turns out to be the final figure for deaths it has to be accepted that the number runs in the “thousands”. It criticises the Qatari authorities for failing “to conduct meaningful investigations into a large percentage of them, classifying many as unexplained or due to ‘natural causes.’” 

Campaigners for the rights of migrants are asking everyone who intends to follow the final of the World Cup on 18 December to mark the occasion with messages on their social media using the hashtag #imd2022qatar.

A symbol of the commemoration of the role of migrant labour at the 2022 World Cup, which is intended in particular to mark the unnecessary deaths of so many has been prepared and can be downloaded as a .jpg attachment.  If you expect to be active on social media on 18 December please show your support for IMD 2022 by using this image.

Meanwhile: Significant Regression in UK’s Protection of Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, has released an important and wide-ranging new report on the situation of human rights in the UK following a visit carried out in June and July.

On the overall human rights landscape, the report states: “The Commissioner observes a high level of anxiety among stakeholders about human rights protection in the UK, in view of the significant impact of recent and proposed legislation, an increasingly antagonistic attitude by the UK government towards human rights, and verbal attacks on lawyers and organisations defending human rights. The Commissioner finds that the Bill of Rights Bill, which would repeal and replace the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), would weaken human rights protections by encouraging a divergence in interpretations by UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights of rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and by limiting the bringing of human rights cases to UK courts. She calls on the UK government to ensure that any further reform of the domestic human rights system leads to a strengthening, rather than a weakening, of protections.”

More specifically on asylum and immigration related issues, the report highlights a significant regression in the observance of the UK’s international obligations to uphold the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

Read more: Electronic Immigration Network,