Stop Driving Migrant Workers to Premature Deaths

Target: Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar

Goal: Protect migrant workers from abuse, exploitation, and preventable death.

One of the world’s most prominent international sporting events, the World Cup, will take place in Qatar in late fall. Thousands of workers help make this massive event possible. Tragically, many have lost their lives in the process.

A troubling new report estimates that at least 6,500 people who worked on construction projects related to the event have passed away. The overwhelming percentage of fatalities come from the ranks of migrant workers. Causes of death include suicide, falls, electrocution, and an extremely high number of respiratory and heart-related conditions.

Soaring temperatures that can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit could be major contributors to many of these deaths. Also of concern: anecdotes that claim migrant workers endure forced labor and often go weeks without receiving any pay.  Despite calls for transparency about the deaths, investigations, and for a nationwide reform of occupational health practices, Qatar has done little except insist the numbers –perhaps much higher than reported – are part of a natural trend.

Sign the petition below to demand this nation honor grieving families with full transparency and a commitment to needed change.


Dear Your Excellency,

Workers stripped of their identities, their dignity, their financial worth, and often their very lives: such abuses would likely stir outrage within you and citizens all across Qatar if they emerged about fellow countrymen. Yet when these same horrendous allegations unfold about migrant workers who arrived to help the nation, you meet them with denials and aversions.  The 6,500-plus human beings from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh Sri Lanka, and so many more localities who died alone in Qatar cannot and should not be forgotten.

Amnesty International has spent years documenting the struggles, and the deaths, of migrant workers who assisted with World Cup preparations. Despite your claims otherwise, the stories of these individuals create a troubling link between alleged human rights abuses, potentially unsafe working conditions, and the premature deaths of workers. Many of these employees have died in their own sleeping quarters. Qatar’s lawyers recommended investigations. Amnesty warned: “there is a need for Qatar to strengthen its occupational health and safety standards.”

Answer these calls for reform. How would you like Qatar to be remembered in 2021, as the site of a great sporting spectacle, or as the site of a government-enabled humanitarian crisis? The world is watching now.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pete Pattisson


One Comment

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    Many of them are doing dangerous work and being exploited and dehumanized as if their lives mean nothing. This is wrong and must stop!

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