Qatar has lashed back at a Washington Post article, which claimed that almost 1,200 workers died while building the world cup stadiums in the Gulf Arab country.
The government vehemently denied such claims, according to comments published by Qatar State News agency.
“This is completely untrue. In fact, after almost five million work-hours on world cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost. Not one.
“In preparing its report, it appears that the Post simply took the total annual mortality figures for Indian and Nepalese migrants working in Qatar and multiplied those numbers by the years remaining between now and the 2022 World Cup – a calculation which assumes that the death of every migrant worker in Qatar is work related.”
The Post‘s report compared the number of workers’ deaths in Qatar to other cities such as London and Sochi that have hosted mega sporting events.
It drew conclusions from a previous investigative report from UK-based newspaper The Guardian that indicated a worker was perishing every two days on Qatar’s construction sites.
In addition, the Post echoed findings from a report by the International Trade Union Confederation, which estimated that about 4,000 workers would die by 2022.
Qatar rebutted these claims arguing that it was impossible that just one worker died during construction of stadiums for the London Olympics.
“The Post’s article was accompanied by a dramatic graphic, which purports to compare the imagined fatalities in Qatar with the number of lives lost in the construction of other international sports venues, including the London Olympics, where just one worker was reported to have died,” the government’s statement said.
“A more accurate comparison according to the Post’s analysis would have also suggested that every migrant worker in the United Kingdom who died between 2005 and 2012 – whatever the job and whatever the cause of death – was killed in the construction of the 2012 London Olympics.”
Qatar’s government also said that it has sent an official letter to the Post “challenging the 27 May article” and requested a clarification of the figures.
The government rued that the article has damaged Qatar’s reputation, giving readers around the world the impression that all migrant workers in the country had perished or will perish at their workplaces.
Qatar, which won the rights to host the world cup in 2010, has been facing international criticism for mistreating migrant workers, who have minimal rights within the country due to the restrictive kafala sponsorship system.
As a result, the country promised to introduce labour reforms, which included the abolishment of the kafala system.
A recent Amnesty report said that Qatar has made little progress in introducing and implementing the promised reforms, in turn failing the workers.