A Nun Joins the Campaign Against the World Cup in Qatar where 6,500 Foreign Workers have Died on Construction sites of the Stadiums

A Catholic nun waves red card at Qatar's World Cup for violated human rights. According to reports, 6,500 migrant workers have died on stadium and infrastructure construction sites.  The Catholic Church in Germany with their NGO Missio is promoting a campaign, relaunched by the Benedictine nun and activist Sister Mary John Mananzan. (in German Qatar is spelled Katar)

The red card to Qatar for the non-respect of human rights and the exploitation of migrant workers. Mistreatment is of all workers engaged in the construction sites of the stadiums built for the World Cup, a "historic and controversial" event that will start on 20 November.

Facts on exploitation in Qatar

  • Nine out of ten residents of Qatar come from abroad. Most are migrant workers with their families.
  • Every sixth native citizen in Qatar is a millionaire.
  • The legal minimum wage in Qatar is around 280 euros per month. With living costs that are almost as high as in Germany, this is not enough to live on.
  • According to research by the British newspaper The Guardian, 6,500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar over the past ten years. Many of them worked at temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius and extremely poor living and working conditions in the construction of the World Cup stadiums. In response to international pressure, working conditions have now been partially improved.
    Source: The Guardian (23 February 2021): "Revealed: 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since World Cup awarded"    
  • Around 173,000 foreign domestic helpers work in the homes of the rich in Qatar. Many of them have to work 15 or more hours a day in very bad conditions.
  • Aid organizations fear that up to 90 percent of female migrant workers in Qatar also suffer sexual violence.
    Source: Missio research
The campaign is justified by the numbers: according to the Guardian in the last 10 years, since the assignment of the planet's top football competition, about 6,500 immigrants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar.
Many worked in temperatures of 50 degrees and in extremely poor living conditions. And it is no coincidence that the competition takes place between November and December. For the soccer players, but not for those who have spent years under the scorching sun building the facilities. 
The German Church, through the NGO Missio, launched the campaign involving Filipina Sister Mary John Mananzan, a Benedictine who has been involved in many human rights activities at home and abroad in the past. 
The majority are migrants from South Asia, South-East Asia and Africa. The cost of living is high, but the minimum wage is only 280 euro per month, insufficient to cover all expenses. Over the years, Doha has introduced some protections, but these are not enough to meet the legitimate demands for full dignity of the worker. 
However, situations of exploitation bordering on slavery do not only concern World Cup workers, but also many foreign domestic workers (173,000 according to some estimates) employed by the families of (more or less) wealthy Qatari citizens. The campaign intends to shine the spotlight by collecting stories and testimonies of people forced to work up to 15 or 20 hours a day, often for seven days a week, for only 230 euro.
Missio also denounces the abuse and rape that "nine out of 10 women" suffer in the emirate and without being able to benefit from legal protection, because the courts end up punishing the victims for sexual relations consummated outside of marriage, leaving the torturers unpunished. And when they denounce this abuse, if convicted, they risk whipping and imprisonment.
One of these 173,000 is Filipina Jeannie Dizon, hired to take care of a small child and then forced to cook, wash and clean for a family of eight people 15 hours a day, for a daily fee of about one euro. She started at 4 a.m. after resting for a few hours in a windowless room, the victim of harassment by her landlord, which prompted her to flee and return home but only after signing an abuse secrecy agreement.
This situation pushes women to accept the violence in silence, while still having to send money to their families in their countries of origin. Missio cites Nepal as an example, where a substantial amount of foreign currency comes from servants who have emigrated to Doha. Missio's 'Protect Women in Qatar' petition should continue after the World Cup. "This law," denounces Sister Mary John, the face of the campaign, "is cruel to the victims! Enough with this, it must be repealed,' she says firmly, while waving a red card.