As preparations ramp up for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, leading members of Congress, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today introduced a resolution calling for better protections for the mainly migrant workers who have been building new World Cup-related infrastructure in the Persian Gulf emirate.
Qatar's migrant workforce faces horrible conditions, including 12-16 hour working days in triple-digit heat, indentured servitude by unscrupulous labor contractors, and squalid, overcrowded labor camps. More than 500,000 additional immigrant workers, primarily from Nepal, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, are expected to arrive in the run-up to the 2022 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. Recent reports warn that as many as 4,000 migrant construction workers could die from the unsafe living and working conditions by the time the 2022 tournament kicks off.
"After America's exciting showing in the 2014 World Cup and as soccer fans around the world look forward to future world cups, we must ensure that the workers who make these events possible have safe working conditions," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, co-chair of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, and lead sponsor of the resolution. "The current conditions Qatar's migrant workforce face are simply unacceptable. The Qatari government, FIFA, the United Nations, and the International Labour Organization have all recognized that conditions need to improve but have taken no meaningful action. We've introduced this resolution in hopes of ending the abuse of migrant labor in Qatar."
Introduced today, H.Res 682 outlines the steps the Qatari government, the U.S. Government, U.S. companies involved in World Cup related construction projects, and FIFA, could take to prevent these serious worker abuses and prevent possibly thousands of worker injuries and deaths in the coming years. The European Parliament has passed a similar resolution.
Specifically, the resolution:
-calls on the Qatari government to make changes to their legal system to better protect migrant workers;
-urges the United States to prioritize the rights of migrant workers in their relations with Qatar;
-encourages American businesses profiting from World Cup-related contracts to honor international human rights standards by holding their contractors and subcontractors accountable for labor violations; and
-asks FIFA to continue to advocate for fair labor practices in Qatar.
Additional cosponsors of the resolution include: Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), co-chair of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Jim McGovern (D-MA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Pascrell Jr.(D-NJ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
The resolution is also supported by the International Trade Union Confederation and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.