As documented in al-Jazeera.
Qatar is the home of the Al Jazeera satellite television network and is the world's richest country on a per capita basis.
It also has the highest ratio of migrants to citizens in the world.
There are an estimated 1.2 million migrant workers living in the country. Many of them work in the construction sector, and many more will be needed to build the stadiums and other infrastructure required for the 2022 football World Cup.
"The fundamental responsibility rests with the authorities of Qatar .... Last year, 161 Nepali construction workers died … this is a situation of industrial anarchy. The way migrant workers are tricked into binding contracts, almost a form of modern-day slavery, is completely unacceptable."
- Tim Noonan, a trade union campaigns director
What is especially interesting about the Qatari immigration system is the concept of the Exit Visa.
Qatar's sponsorship system, known as kafala, prohibits workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their sponsor's approval. A worker's sponsor is usually their employer. Qatari law also prevents workers from organising unions or staging strikes.
The Guardian weighs in.
The allegations suggest a chain of exploitation leading from poor Nepalese villages to Qatari leaders. The overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world's most popular sporting tournament.
"We'd like to leave, but the company won't let us," said one Nepalese migrant employed at Lusail City development, a $45bn (£28bn) city being built from scratch which will include the 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. "I'm angry about how this company is treating us, but we're helpless. I regret coming here, but what to do? We were compelled to come just to make a living, but we've had no luck."
Almost all migrant workers have huge debts from Nepal, accrued in order to pay recruitment agents for their jobs. The obligation to repay these debts, combined with the non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their place of work, constitute forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery estimated to affect up to 21 million people across the globe. So entrenched is this exploitation that the Nepalese ambassador to Qatar, Maya Kumari Sharma, recently described the emirate as an "open jail".
Huge amounts of money are floating around.
Qatar will spend $100bn on infrastructure projects to support the World Cup. As well as nine state-of-the-art stadiums, the country has committed to $20bn worth of new roads, $4bn for a causeway connecting Qatar to Bahrain, $24bn for a high-speed rail network, and 55,000 hotel rooms to accommodate visiting fans and has almost completed a new airport.
The World Cup is part of an even bigger programme of construction in Qatar designed to remake the tiny desert kingdom over the next two decades. Qatar has yet to start building stadiums for 2022, but has embarked on the big infrastructure projects likesuch as Lusail City that, according to the US project managers, Parsons, "will play a major role during the 2022 Fifa World Cup". The British engineering company Halcrow, part of the CH2M Hill group, is a lead consultant on the Lusail project responsible for "infrastructure design and construction supervision".
The commentators point out that
The western world boycotted South Africa for its human rights record and yet we do nothing when middle eastern and asian dictatorships abuse their own people and guest workers.
To use a convoluted metaphor, the structure of society in the West is a wealth pyramid. The third world is the iceberg beneath that allows that pyramid to float on the surface. Our relative prosperity is utterly dependent on de jure (historically) and the de facto slavery as illustrated here.-
The safety situation here is Qatar is well known to Qataris and Nepalis, but the latter still queue up to come. Surely there is a problem in Nepal that needs addressed.
Qatar, a country with no football tradition whatsoever but with great wealth gets awarded the 2022 world cup in an obviously rigged vote by the famously corrupt FIFA and goes on to abuse its desperately poor construction workers in the manner of slave drivers.