Qatar’s leader rejects human rights criticism as ‘slander’ ahead of the World Cup

Image of the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Credit: Google maps - Hamim tube

With the 2022 World Cup less than one month away, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has rejected criticism of his country’s human rights record as ‘slander’.

 

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the ruler of Qatar, on Tuesday, October 25, slammed criticism over his country’s staging of this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament, calling it ‘slander’.

The leader of the oil-rich tiny Gulf state commented: “Since we had the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been the target of an unprecedented campaign that no other host country has suffered”.

In 2010, his nation was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup. An estimated €6.84 billion have been invested by Qatar’s rulers on the world’s most prestigious football competition since then, which will run from 20 November to 18 December this winter.

There has been repeated criticism levelled at the Middle Eastern country over its attitude towards the LGBT+ community, women, and the alleged treatment and even deaths of migrant workers – mostly from South East Asia and East Africa – who have helped construct the lavish stadiums where the matches will be played.

According to a report on Monday, October 24, compiled by the NGO Human Rights Watch, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been arbitrarily arrested by Qatar’s security forces. While in detention they have allegedly been subjected to ill-treatment and violence.

Peter Tatchell, the veteran UK-based activist staged a protest in front of Qatar’s National Museum on Tuesday 25. Claims that he was arrested and questioned by the police for demonstrating over the country’s treatment of the LGBT community were subsequently rejected as ‘completely false’ by the Qatari authorities.

Qatar’s old kafala system which prevented migrant workers from changing jobs was supposedly reformed after it had been criticised, with new labour protection laws allegedly introduced to protect the World Cup workforce. Many though have questioned whether this change actually took place in reality, with wages of around one euro per hour mentioned.

Speaking in Doha on Tuesday 25, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said: “Initially, we dealt with this subject in good faith, and we even considered that certain criticisms were positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects which should be developed”.

“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign persists and expands, there is slander and double standards, reaching a level of relentlessness that has left many wondering, sadly, on the real reasons and motivations of this campaign”, he concluded, as reported by euronews.com.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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