Workers in Qatar World Cup final city went unpaid for months Amnesty

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London,Sep26(AFP)DozensofmigrantsworkingonQatarsUSD45billionWorldCupfinalcityofLusailhavegoneunpaidformonths,AmnestyInternationalsaidWednesday,thelatestrightsaccusationagainstthe2022tournamenthost。

MercuryMENAfailedtopayitsworkersthousandsofdollarsinwagesandworkbenefits,leavingthemstrandedandpennilessinthecountry,accordingtotheLondon-basedrightsgroup。

Howeverinresponse,footballsgoverningbodyFIFAaccusedAmnestyofbeingmisleadingandsaidthenon-paymentswerenotconnectedtothe2022tournament。

Amnestyallegesthatatleast78employeesfromNepal,IndiaandthePhilippineshadnotbeenpaidsinceFebruary2016andwereowedanaverageof$2,000(1,700euros)forsometheequivalentofseveralmonthswages。

Insomecasesthishadruinedlives,saidAmnesty,whichurgedtheDohagovernmenttopaytheworkers,someofwhomtookouthugeloanstosecureajobinthesuper-wealthyGulfstate。

Oneworker,Ernesto,apipingforemanfromthePhilippines,toldAmnestyhewasingreaterdebtafterworkinginQatarfortwoyearsthanbeforehearrivedinthecountry。

OtherlabourersfromNepalsaidtheyhadtotaketheirchildrenoutofschoolorselllandtocoverdebtsincurredbyworkinginQatar。

Byensuringtheygetthewageswhichtheyareowed,Qatarcanhelpthesemigrantworkerstorebuildtheirlives,saidSteveCockburn,Amnestysdirectorofglobalissues。

ItclaimedMercuryMENAtookadvantageofQatarskafalasystem,whichpreventsworkersfromchangingjobsorleavingthecountrywithoutthepermissionofbosses。

UnpaidworkerseventuallyallowedtoleaveQataronlydidsoattheirowncost,saidAmnesty。

AswellashelpingbuildLusailcity,whichisalsothevenueforthe2022footballtournamentsopeningmatch,MercuryMENAhelpedbuildashowcasestadiumthatwasanintegralpartofQatarswinningpresentationtoFIFAinDecember2010。

InNovember,Amnestyspoketothecompanyschiefexecutive,whoacknowledgedcashflowproblems。

Therehasbeennofurtherresponse。

However,FIFArejectedtheAmnestyclaims。

WehavenoreasontobelievethereportedviolationsofworkersrightsareinfactlinkedtoFIFAandthe2022WorldCup,aspokesmantoldAFP。

WeregretAmnestychosetoframeitsstatementinsuchamisleadingmanner。

ThefindingscomeatatimewhentheWorldCuphostisunderintensescrutinyoverlabourrights。

Earlierthismonth,Dohasaiditwouldabolishexitpermitsacornerstoneofthekafalasystemlikenedtomodern-dayslaverybuthasnotgivenadateforwhenthiswillcomeintoforce。

InApril,theInternationalLabourOrganizationopenedanofficeinDoha,partofanagreementunderwhichtheUnitedNationsagencywilloverseewholesalelabourreformintheemirate。