Football has been referred to as ‘the beautiful game’. And to be fair, there has been some brilliant football at the men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Qatar’s records on human rights have been widely criticised in the run up to this global event. The global media have spent a lot of time on commenting on several social and economic issues in Qatar, such as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights, the role and status of women, and the exploitation of migrant workers. Migrant workers from South Asia, including those from Nepal, have helped build the stadiums and roads leading up to it, provide the security at venues, take the suitcases of the conveyor belts at the airport, and serve fans and visitors food and drink at the venues. Many of these migrant workers are exploited not just by employers in Qatar, but also by labour agencies in their home countries. The risks are high, especially for those migrant workers who do the dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs (i.e. the 3Ds).
As researchers conducting research in the area of migration and health, we are worried that when the world cup finishes next weekend the world’s media will move on from Qatar and the attention will disappear from the exploitation of migrant workers in the Middle East (and elsewhere). We all know that the media’s focus will shift to on another global event, next week or next month. We want to make sure that spotlight stays on this global problem.
Dr. Pramod Regmi, Dr. Nirmal Aryal & Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Faculty of Health & Social Sciences