ITUC backpedals on Qatar claims
The head of an international trade union has retreated from suggestions that thousands of expats brought here to prepare Qatar to host the World Cup will die before 2022.
In 2013, ITUC asserted that “more than 4,000 workers risk losing their life over the next seven years as construction for World Cup facilities gets under way if no action is taken to give migrant workers’ rights.”
The prediction has repeatedly been used by critics to condemn Qatar’s human rights record and has often dominated conversations about the 2022 World Cup.
The number has also been shared widely by international media outlets, especially after ITUC compared it to other major sporting event fatalities, including the 2012 London Olympics.
“We’ve never said that,” she said. “I’ve never said ‘on World Cup stadiums’…I’ve said up to 4,000 workers will die in Qatar before a ball is kicked off in 2022. That’s a very conservative figure.”
Burrow also defended ITUC’s methodology, even though the forecast represents the deaths of all expats working in Qatar over the next several years, including professionals in industries unrelated to the World Cup: “If I get it wrong by a few hundred middle-class Indians, does it negate the fact that workers are at risk here because of safety standards, living standards, the quality of food, the quality of water, the heat?”