Qatar has launched a workplace safety investigation into the death of a worker after it reported that a man had died at a training site during the world Cupmarked by controversy over the treatment of migrant workers by the host country.
Nasser Al Khater, the general manager of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, confirmed to Reuters that a worker died, without providing details. Al Khater also said that “death is a natural part of life”, while offering his condolences to the worker’s family and expressing his disappointment at the journalists’ questions.
“Death is a natural part of life, whether at work or in your sleep,” Khater told the reports. “We are in the middle of a World Cup. And we have a successful World Cup. And that’s something you want to talk about now? »
In a statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned Al Khater’s remarks. “The Qatari official’s comment shows complete disregard for the deceased migrant worker,” HRW representative Rothna Begum said. “His statement that deaths do happen and it’s natural when they do, ignores that many migrant worker deaths were preventable.”
In an official statement, Qatari government officials said: “If the investigation finds that safety protocols were not followed, the company will face legal action and severe financial penalties. The statement added that “the rate of work-related accidents has steadily decreased in Qatar since strict health and safety standards were introduced and enforcement was tightened.”
Athletic reported on Wednesday that a Filipino man hired to repair lights in a parking lot at Sealine Resort – the Saudi national team’s training site, died after “slipping from a crawls while walking alongside”. [a] vehicle and fell head first against the concrete”.
Citing several unnamed sources, the report claims the accident happened during the World Cup, but does not say when. The station did not immediately respond to a query from Reuters.
Qatar has come under increasing scrutiny from human rights groups since winning the right to host the World Cup in 2010 for its treatment of migrant workers, who make up the majority of the population of the Gulf State.
The tournament, the first to be held in the Middle East where other countries have also come under fire over migrant worker rights, has been mired in controversy with some football stars and a European official criticizing Qatar’s record on human rights, including labor, LGBT+ and women’s rights. rights.
Qatar World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said in a statement that they were not involved in the Qatari investigation because “the deceased (worked) as a contractor, not under the mandate of the SC”.
The number of work-related deaths in Qatar is disputed. The Guardian reported last year that at least 6,500 migrant workers – many likely working on World Cup preparations – had died in Qatar since it won the right to host the event, according to reports. newspaper calculations based on official documents.
In response, Qatar said the death toll was proportional to the size of the migrant workforce and included many non-manual workers, adding that every life lost was a tragedy.
The SC has previously said that three work-related deaths and 37 non-work-related deaths have occurred on World Cup-related projects. In a recent television interviewHassan al-Thawadi, the general secretary of the SC, estimated that the number of migrant workers who died on World Cup-related projects was “between 400 and 500”.