Qatar FIFA World Cup: A placard with the inscription “Boycott Qatar 2022” is seen before the Bundesliga football match between Freiburg and FC Union Berlin at Europa-Park Stadium in Germany on November 13, 2022. photo credit: Tom Weller
With just a few days to go before football world Cup At the outset, Qatar, the host nation and FIFA became embroiled in controversy. Since 2013, when Doha won the bid to host the World Cup, rights groups have pointed out Qatar’s poor human rights record, particularly on LGBT rights, civil liberties and treatment of migrant workers. Soccer players and fans have expressed anger and frustration at FIFA, and more recently after the body issued a statement asking the 32 participating nations to “focus on soccer for now”.
The Australian team released a video condemning Qatar’s human rights violations. The Danish team will wear an all-black kit. England’s star player Harry Kane and captains of European teams will wear the ‘OneLove’ armband. Recently, fans at a Dortmund match in Germany unfurled a large banner that read ‘Boycott Qatar 2022’. Pop star Dua Lipa distanced herself from the tournament, saying she would not perform at the opening ceremony and “looks forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights promises it made while winning the right to host the World Cup”. has been completed.”
The V-Dem Institute’s Human Rights Index quantifies a country’s human rights record where 0 indicates ‘least rights’ and 1 indicates ‘most rights’. This index measures the extent to which people are free from government torture, political killings, and forced labor; have property rights; and enjoy freedom of movement, religion, expression and association. chart 1 Plots the Institute’s Human Rights Index for the Football World Cup hosting the year the tournament is hosted by the country. For example, the 2006 World Cup was held in Germany, which scored 0.97 on the index that year. Qatar’s human rights record is the third worst in history for a host. Figures for 2021 have been considered for Qatar as the figures for 2022 have not yet been published. Qatar is behind only Argentina, which hosted the World Cup in 1978, and Italy, which hosted in 1934. The military junta, which took power in Argentina in 1978, suppressed civil rights and restricted freedoms. In 1934, the second World Cup took place in Benito Mussolini’s Italy.
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Qatar also ranked at the bottom of many other humanitarian indicators (Chart 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D), Qatar scores particularly low with Russia on civil liberties, personal civil liberties, equal rights protection and freedom of expression. The scores for Denmark and India are shown for reference.
Chart 2A: Civil Liberties
The chart shows the extent of freedom of expression and association, rule of law and individual autonomy. The higher the score, the more freedom
Chart 2B: Personal Civil Liberties
This chart shows the extent to which people are free from forced labor, have property rights and enjoy freedom of movement and religion. 0 (least freedom) to 1 (most freedom)
Chart 2C: Equal Rights
This chart aggregates information on the extent to which the state provides and protects rights and freedoms equally for all social groups. 0 (least equal) to 1 (most equal)
Chart 2D: Freedom of expression
The chart shows the extent to which people can express their views and the media present different political viewpoints. Ranges from 0 (least free) to 1 (most free)
Even the previous tournament, held in Russia, faced scrutiny. Russia is the fourth worst host in terms of human rights. However, Qatari officials say the repudiation they are facing is worse than before and they have condemned its “hypocrisy”. Responding to Germany’s criticism in an interview with a German newspaper, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, “On the one hand, the German population is misinformed by government politicians; On the other hand, the government has no problem with us when it comes to energy sharing or investment.” Table 3 Shows the total imports of coal, oil and natural gas in 2021 by 10 European football nations, including England and Belgium, which recently issued a joint statement condemning Qatar’s rights abuses and called on FIFA to provide a “concrete answer”. urged. The countries together have spent $4.2 billion in 2021 on the import of mineral oil and fuel from Qatar. Qatar was also among the top 10 sources of oil for England and Belgium last year.
With inputs from Vignesh Radhakrishnan
Sources: V-Dem Institute, Freedom House Ratings, Ourworldindata, UN Comtrade