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Qatar World Cup organizers admitted this week that migrant employees were exploited while working for FIFA’s preparation tournaments in the Gulf State, following a scathing report by Amnesty International, the Associated Press reported.
The organizers’ admission followed a 73-page report by the human rights organization detailing how security guards worked for three years without a day off.
The findings showed that employers refused to respect the weekly rest day required by Qatari law, adding the migrant workers worked “12 hours a day, seven days a week – often for months or even years on end without a day off.”
Qatari labor laws restrict working hours to a 60-hour maximum, including overtime, and workers are entitled to one full, paid rest day each week, the Telegraph noted. But the report found that workers who took a day off “faced being punished with arbitrary wage deductions.”
The work conditions have been described as “forced labor,” even though the Gulf kingdom had earlier claimed that worker rights in the country are on par with the West.
Workers are still exploited in Qatar, despite World Cup organizers claiming that procedures to ensure health and safety have been in place since 2014, four years after FIFA gave the country hosting rights.
Representatives of Qatar’s Supreme Committee – which oversees the World Cup preparations – responded to the report’s findings that it is taking “every measure possible to ensure that workers on our projects are protected and their rights are upheld.”
Qatar is scheduled to host the World Cup in Doha from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.