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Qatar and Fifa urged to protect 800,000 workers from desert heat

Staff Writer | September 28, 2017
Qatar must urgently introduce laws to protect the lives of up to 800,000 migrant construction labourers, Human Rights Watch said.
Qatar workers
Sport and business   The most basic protection
The report also called on Qatar, where thousands of labourers are working on World Cup 2022 projects, to investigate workers' deaths and make those findings public.

"The Qatari authorities' failure to put in place the most basic protection from the heat, their decision to ignore recommendations that they investigate worker deaths, and their refusal to release data on these deaths, constitutes a wilful abdication of responsibility," said report author Nicholas McGeehan.

He also called on football's world governing body, Fifa, national associations and World Cup sponsors to demand further protection from heat and humidity for Qatar's workers.

McGeehan added: "They should also be demanding answers to two simple questions - how many workers have died since 2012 and how they have died?"

Qatar has introduced laws to stop people working outside between 11.30am and 3pm annually from June 15 to August 31, when temperatures can reach around 50 degrees Celsius.

But the report said these measures do not go far enough.

"Limiting work temperatures to safe temperatures - not set by a clock or calendar - is well within the capacity of the Qatari government and will help protect hundreds of thousands of workers," said Sarah Leah Whitson.

Temperatures in Qatar are currently in the high 30s Celsius and humidity levels are above 50 percent.