“Participating does not mean turning a blind eye and condoning,” reacted the French Football Federation (FFF) on Saturday, criticized by NGOs for its supposed wait-and-see attitude on the issue of migrant workers in Qatar, host country of the next World Cup. “Free to express themselves or not”, the FFF and the French team “did not wait for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar to defend on a daily basis, on the ground, and at their level, the human rights, as well as other essential causes,” the Federation said in a statement.
“The FFF finally comes out of its silence”
In concrete terms, the body headed by Noël Le Graët has “implemented various verification measures concerning respect for social rights and the application of respectful working conditions at the base camp of the France team” in Qatar, is -he writes. As for the arrival of the French world champions in the emirate, the FFF summarizes its position: “Participating does not mean turning a blind eye and condoning”.
“However, the organization of this World Cup has enabled social progress in Qatar that even some NGOs recognize, including Amnesty International. Even if the reality on the ground is not perfect, this progress is undeniable and positive”, affirms the Federation, which “deplores” a “stigmatization campaign” against him. “The FFF is finally breaking its silence on the issue of human rights in Qatar!” Amnesty International France reacted in a press release sent to AFP.
“We are delighted that the FFF is exercising its duty of vigilance towards the service providers with which it will be in contact in Qatar,” said Jean-Claude Samouiller, president of Amnesty International France in this press release. “We welcome the fact that she joins the federations already committed to the defense of human rights in Qatar who want the establishment of a compensation fund for workers whose rights have been violated since then. 2010,” he adds.
A heavily criticized World Cup
In an open letter released on Friday, two days before Denmark-France in Copenhagen, Amnesty International had regretted the “deafening silence” of the Blues “in the face of the thousands of migrant workers who died on Qatari construction sites, and the thousands of others subjected to forced labor. “. Conversely, the NGO had pointed out that “the sponsors of the Danish team have decided to remove their logos from the players’ training shirts to replace them with a message in favor of respect for human rights in Qatar”. The question of the rights of migrant workers in Qatar has been regularly raised by NGOs since the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the rich Gulf gas state in 2010.
In 2021, a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) concluded that all of the occupational accidents that occurred during the year 2020 in Qatar killed 50 workers and seriously injured 500 others. However, the ILO notes shortcomings in the system of investigation and registration of deaths, and admits that their number could be higher.