BERLIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 07, 2013) (REUTERS) - An international NGO urged FIFA on Monday (October 7) to take steps to improve the situation of migrant construction workers preparing the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar after allegations of their ill-treatment.Human Rights Watch called for soccer's governing body to pressure organisers to take action, saying its report last year showed evidence of death and poor working conditions at the construction sites.
"We documented death on the construction sites, we were also very concerned about squalid working conditions and housing conditions," a spokesperson forHuman Rights Watch, Wolfgang Buettner, told Reuters TV.
"He should not only visit the Emir in Qatar, but he should also go to the construction sites and to the housing facilities of the migrant workers in order to see how the situation there is," said Buettner.
A recent report in Britain's Guardian newspaper said that dozens of Nepali workers had died during the summer and that labourers were not given sufficient food and water, were housed in cramped and unhygienic conditions and had their passports confiscated.
Human Rights Watch falls short of supporting a boycott of the soccer tournament, however. Buettner said the organisation did not want athletes to be punished by spoiling the competition.
"We don't think that boycotting is the right way to deal with the issue. We think it will hurt the sports people, the athletes who trained for the competition for years," he said. "We think it is more effective to put pressure on the FIFA or on the IOC in order to get human rights mechanisms before the bid, before the competition is distributed to a country. And then, we also think it's important after the bid that we have monitoring mechanisms that human rights violations cannot take place in this country."
Its organising committee for the 2022 World Cup has said workers' rights were already written into the contracts of those involved and organisers would try to ensure these were enforced.