Thursday, 4 September 2014

FIFA World Cup 2022 - Qatar. An investigation

Subject: RE: Qatar

Dear Colleague

You may know about the work I have been undertaking to raise awareness of the most awful plight of immigrant Nepalese and Indian workers being deployed in Qatar. Earlier this year, I spent five days in the country undertaking a fact-finding mission organised by the construction workers' union UCATT. I was horrified by what I saw.

Despite media publicity and an increasing awareness of the desperate situation, and in spite of reassurances from agencies working in Qatar, I regret to say that matters have not improved. I would urge you to take the time to watch a 15-minute feature compiled by The Guardian which evidences the unthinkable and desperate situation in which many workers still find themselves. The feature can be viewed by following this link:

You will see that many workers, having been drawn to the country under false pretences and, often, having paid extortionate fees for the right to work in Qatar, remain unpaid or having received a pittance compared to the false promises made to them. Most are unable to send funds back home to their families and loved ones, who took out huge loans in order to fund the workers’ trips. These loans often cannot be paid back.

Worse still, you will see the appalling living conditions in which the workers continue to exist, without proper washing facilities or clean drinking water, and stuffed into overcrowded dormitories reminiscent of workhouses. Many hundreds have lost their lives, with little explanation as to how these horrors have been allowed to unfold.

What you may not know is that many British companies have been contracted to operate in Qatar, some of which will be employing the workers facing these atrocious circumstances. Following a request to the House of Commons Library, I have found the names of at least 17 UK companies contracted to either work on World Cup facilities directly or on related infrastructure within Qatar. I have contacted these companies directly and intend to establish exactly what their involvement has been and what steps they have taken to address the issues.

Please take the time to watch the video so you can see for yourselves how grave the situation in Qatar has become. I would appreciate your support as we move forward in pushing for international action.

Best wishes

Chris Williamson
Labour MP for Derby North