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EU parliament calls on Fifa to compensate families of migrant workers

The EU parliament has urged Fifa to help compensate the families of the migrant workers who died or suffered rights abuses during preparations for the World Cup.

In a vote on Thursday, MEPs also called on the Qatari authorities to conduct a full investigation into human rights abuses in the run-up to the competition.

Qatar has come under fire for its treatment of migrant workers in light of the country currently hosting the World Cup.

The resolution also deplored reports of abuses of the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar and called on the country to decriminalise same-sex relations.

A number of MEPs were wearing the anti-hate ‘OneLove’ armbands which seven European World Cup captains backed out from wearing following Fifa pressure.

Since Fifa awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 the country has changed some of its labour laws and, ahead of the World Cup, organisers repeatedly said that everyone was welcome - although Human Rights Watch said LGBT people were arrested in the run-up to the World Cup.

However, Malcolm Bidali, a former security guard who was jailed in Qatar when he spoke out about working conditions and former British diplomat and founder of human rights group FairSquare, shared first hand knowledge with The Independent on what life is really like on the ground for workers in Qatar.

Qatar has come under fire for its human rights abuses of migrant workers in the World Cup lead up (AP)
Qatar has come under fire for its human rights abuses of migrant workers in the World Cup lead up (AP)
European parliament urges full investigation into human rights abuses (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
European parliament urges full investigation into human rights abuses (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

In a panel discussing migrant workers in Qatar, Bidali spoke about the long hours encountered by all workers, the poor conditions and the inability to be able to get employers to do anything.

He said: “You can’t go back so you’re trapped. You just become like resilient, you know, you just become like desensitised to all that. If you if you take things to literally, you can get involved in substances and all that even suicide. So a sense of humour is key.”

Malcolm was arrested and held for 12 weeks in May 2021 when the Qatari authorities discovered he had been blogging anonymously about workers’ conditions. He has since returned to Kenya and started a workers group, Migrant Defenders.