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28 May 2015

BWI Files OECD-Complaint against FIFA

Today the BWI filed a complaint against FIFA under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for failing to engage in due diligence concerning human rights for migrant construction workers in Qatar. The submission asks the Swiss National Contact Point to use its good offices with FIFA to facilitate change and to facilitate productive discussions between FIFA and BWI.

Ever since the bidding process for the World Cup 2022 started, FIFA has failed to address the large scale human rights violations against migrant workers building World Cup facilities.

By awarding the FIFA 2022 World Cup to Qatar in 2010, FIFA did not respect Chapter II, Paragraph 2 of the OECD Guidelines, which calls for enterprises to “Respect the internationally-recognised human rights of those affected by their activities.”

The complaint states that FIFA has failed to identify and prevent its adverse human rights impacts related to its relationship with Qatar — including systematic confiscation of passports, widespread discrimination, non-payment of wages, lack of freedom of association and unsafe working conditions.

”FIFA already knew about all of this before the bidding process started but chose not to care. They have systematically refused to put any meaningful pressure on Qatar to change its labour policies. Together with the Qatari government, they are responsible for the thousands of migrant workers who die on their jobs or get caught in modern slavery”, says Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI.

Under the OECD Guidelines, FIFA can be expected to intervene with the Qatari government and encourage them to initiate labour reforms when they were selected as host country and subsequently. It is not at all clear, however, that FIFA has made any serious efforts in this area.

”On behalf of the more than 12 million trade members that we represent, we demand that FIFA immediately take action to secure the abolition of the Kafala system in Qatar, a system of modern day slavery, introduce full freedom of association for all workers and ensure that they have immediate access to justice. Our goal is to ensure human rights and decent work for all workers in Qatar,” said Yuson.

He continued, “This complaint seeks to produce concrete and serious cooperation on Qatar. Responsibility and respect for international human rights principles can help build stable and constructive industrial relations in that country that will combine economic development with the possibility for migrant workers to live and work in dignity.”

BWI complaint

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