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Filed a million-signature petition to FIFA demanding justice for 2022 World Cup migrant workers

LONDON: A letter backed by a petition signed by more than one million people has reached world football’s governing body FIFA, demanding that it compensate migrant workers who suffered human rights abuses in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The letter and the custom-designed football shirts were handed over to the group ahead of its annual meeting in Rwanda on March 16, during which it is expected to come under pressure from some member states to correct what it calls appalling abuses.

The million-signature petition was solicited in 190 countries by US non-profit organization Avaaz and Amnesty International.

Steve Coburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, said the upcoming meeting offered another opportunity for FIFA officials to “develop a firm plan and timetable for immediate and expeditious compensation for those suffering Shocking human rights abuses of workers and their families, a World Cup built on their sacrifice.”

He added: “Workers have suffered horrific mistreatment to help stage a World Cup tournament that has earned FIFA billions, but with the human cost of indebted families and worker deaths.

“While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, there is no doubt that FIFA has the resources to help remedy these injustices and provide life-changing support for workers and their families.”

Avaaz’s U.S. legal director, Bieta Andemariam, said the public around the world recognized the grave injustices suffered by migrant workers and “had come together to demand that FIFA recover from billions of dollars in sweat, blood and hundreds of thousands of lives.” “Take a small portion” of these victims and simply give them and their families what they owe. “

The design of the custom football shirts on display at the official FIFA museum in Zurich, Switzerland, reflects the blue uniforms and yellow vests worn by many of the migrant workers whose rights activists say are mistreated as they build stadiums and infrastructure , and provide other services for the World Cup.

“By displaying the jerseys at the FIFA Museum in Zurich, we are asking the organization to acknowledge the sacrifices of migrant workers and meet their pending compensation claims,” ​​Coburn said.

Fifa has pledged to establish a legacy fund ahead of the World Cup in November 2022, but has not committed to using it to provide direct support or compensation to workers. The group has not provided any further details on how the fund will work.

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