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why it is rather tough to estimate the variety of deaths linked to the development websites of the World Cup

The construction site of the Lusail stadium which is to host the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, December 20, 2019.

In early 2021, the British each day The Guardian revealed an in depth investigation revealing that a minimum of 6,500 migrant employees in Qatar had died there between 2011 and 2020. Since then, this determine of 6,500 deaths has develop into central within the criticism of the group of the 2022 World Cup, and plenty of are those that cite it, considering that it corresponds to the variety of employees who died on the development websites of the stadiums of the competitors, or extra broadly on the development websites of the World Cup. That is nevertheless not fairly the case.

How was this estimate of 6,500 useless calculated?

  • A census of useless immigrants in Qatar

The investigation of Guardian, revealed in February 2021, focuses on non-Qatari residents who died within the nation between 2011 and the tip of 2020. Based mostly on demise information produced by the embassies or authorities departments of 5 international locations with many nationals in Qatar ( India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan), the London newspaper counted over this ten-year interval 6,751 confirmed deaths of employees, specifying in passing that this quantity could possibly be clearly underestimated, as a result of it doesn’t embrace nationals of different international locations (Philippines, Kenya, and so on.) very quite a few in Qatar. The deaths of the final months of 2020 and 2021 are additionally not included within the information collected by the Guardian.

Among the many causes of those deaths, one predominates: “pure demise”, which represents 70% of the causes cited for Indian, Nepalese or Bangladeshi employees, a share which reaches 80% for Indians. That is partly as a result of no post-mortem or medical examination is carried out to find out the actual reason behind demise.

This publication of Guardian follows an preliminary survey by the identical each day on Qatar’s preparation for the World Cup, revealed in 2013, describing conditions of “compelled labor, a type of trendy slavery”, resulting in a number of dozen deaths over the summer season. It paperwork the each day lifetime of Nepalese employees on the development websites of Lusail – a brand new Qatari metropolis constructed north of Doha, supposed to deal with the most important of the seven stadiums constructed – whose papers have been confiscated, who didn’t obtain their wages, and who have been housed in unsanitary situations. The identical 12 months, The world additionally denounced the working situations of immigrants in Qatar.

Additionally learn (archive from 2013): World Cup 2022: the damned of Doha
  • The boundaries of embassy registers

This determine clearly has its limits. The registers of international embassies consulted by the Guardian nearly by no means specify the age of the deceased, nor the place of their demise, nor the sector by which they labored. Which makes Max Tuñon, the director of the Qatari department of the Worldwide Labor Group (ILO), say that a few of these deaths might not be development employees however workplace employees or inactive individuals. .

Unsurprisingly, Qatar strongly contests these figures, and affirms that solely 37 deaths would have occurred among the many employees current on the development websites of the stadiums: three are attributed to work and 34 would produce other causes (amongst which ten concern males aged 20 to 40 years previous).

  • Deaths on stadium development websites, however not solely

In its communication, the Qatari authorities typically solely contains the renovation or development websites of the eight stadiums of the competitors, which symbolize solely 2% of the employees employed in development in Qatar.

However loads of lodging and public transport (just like the Doha metro) most likely would not have been constructed if Qatar hadn’t hosted the World Cup, which is because of host 1.2 million individuals within the nation of 330. 000 Qatari residents.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) consider that the spectacular development growth within the nation for greater than ten years is basically attributable to FIFA’s resolution. Particularly since “Qatar’s infrastructure program schedule is absolutely aligned with the World Cup supply date”notes Tim Noonan, marketing campaign director of the Worldwide Commerce Union Confederation (ITUC), interviewed by the BBC in 2015.

The determine of 6,500 useless just isn’t taken up by the principle NGOs which comply with carefully the state of affairs of migrant employees in Qatar and within the Gulf States, and which evoke moderately “a number of thousand useless” of immigrant employees, an order of magnitude that they think about in line with their observations within the discipline and the analysis they’ve been conducting for greater than ten years within the emirate. The ITUC estimated in 2013 that 4,000 employees could be useless by the beginning of the World Cup on the finish of 2022.

Learn additionally: Amnesty Worldwide calls on Qatar to research the deaths of migrant employees

Can we draw up a exact toll of the useless employees?

  • Official fragmentary statistics

The Qatari authorities publishes official statistics on the topic yearly. Even when we have no idea their reliability or completeness, they may give some clues.

Based on this information, 12,412 immigrant males died between 2011 and 2020, nearly half of whom (5,935) have been between the ages of 20 and 50, which is comparatively younger. The Qataris defined to the Guardian that the demise toll was proportional to the scale of the immigrant inhabitants, undisclosed by authorities however estimated at 2.5 million in 2020, for about 330,000 Qataris. An argument taken up by the Indian authorities, who consider that the mortality is that anticipated of such a big inhabitants.

This isn’t totally right, as a result of these younger males are chosen after a whole medical examination, as Tim Noonan identified in 2015. “Qatar requires them to have a medical examination to detect earlier medical issues, so it is like evaluating apples and pears”he argued.

  • Overseas useless are younger

The overrepresentation of those ” youth “ adults is especially clear within the information on deaths by age group: in 2020, 25% of immigrant males who died within the nation have been between 20 and 40 years previous, whereas this similar age group represents 10% of deaths recorded amongst Qatari males. The hole is even better in 2012, when 20-40 12 months olds accounted for nearly 40% of useless immigrants, in comparison with 12% for Qataris.

The identical pattern is noticed amongst 40-60 12 months olds: their share varies between 20% and 26% amongst Qatari deaths, whereas it represents between 35% and 42% of immigrants’ deaths.

In Qatar, immigrant males die considerably youthful than nationals

Share of 20-39 12 months olds and 40-59 12 months olds within the whole deaths of every group (immigrant males and Qatari males). Studying : in 2020, 20-39 12 months olds accounted for 10.3% of deaths amongst Qatari males however 25% of deaths amongst immigrant males.


The identical observations may be made after we report the demographic weight of every age group within the respective populations of Qatari and immigrant males. Amongst males of Qatari nationality, the overwhelming majority of deaths happen amongst these over 55, regardless that they symbolize a minority within the – moderately younger – inhabitants of the nation. The demography of immigrant males is completely different, however so is their mortality: the vast majority of the useless are below 55 (round 60%), and one in 5 immigrant useless is between 35 and 44 years previous.

In Qatar, the below 45s symbolize 40% of the deaths of immigrant males

Share of Qatari and immigrant males within the inhabitants and in deaths by age group.


Excessive warmth deadly to employees

These many deaths are largely as a result of publicity to the mud and excessive warmth of the Gulf local weather for a lot of the 12 months, which makes working outdoor very tough and unsafe to well being.

Workers walk to the Lusail stadium, the largest of the eight stadiums that are to host the matches of the 2022 World Cup, built in the homonymous city north of Doha, on December 20, 2019.
  • Moist-bulb globe temperatures

Temperatures can steadily exceed 40°C in summer season and stay above 30°C for a minimum of six months of the 12 months. To guard development employees, Qatar has banned outside work from 11:30 a.m. to three p.m. This measure, which is in reality utilized solely too little, can be very largely inadequate to forestall injury to the well being of employees, as proven by an evaluation revealed by the Guardian in October 2019.

The British each day has calculated the so-called “moist bulb globe” (or WBGT) temperatures, an index that measures the mixed results of warmth, photo voltaic radiation and air humidity on the human physique. . If it exceeds 28°C, it’s thought-about harmful. In Qatar, this worth is steadily exceeded, particularly in August when it reaches 28-30 nearly all day. From mid-June, the temperatures are so excessive that it turns into harmful to work exterior for greater than fifteen minutes per hour for a lot of the day. Nonetheless, numerous employees have testified to working days of a minimum of ten hours, generally twelve, in defiance of security guidelines, imposing excessive thermal stress on the organisms.

Learn additionally: In Qatar, the Vinci development websites prohibited to commerce unionists who’re too curious
  • Temperatures, cardiac arrests and kidney issues

In a research revealed in July 2019 within the journal Cardiologya global staff of researchers famous a “robust correlation” between temperatures and cardiovascular occasions recorded amongst Nepalese immigrant employees in Qatar. “The pronounced mortality from cardiovascular occasions throughout scorching seasons is probably as a result of intense warmth stress”conclude the researchers, who estimate that round 35% of deadly cardiac arrests might have been prevented by higher defending employees towards warmth. “Younger males have a really low incidence of cardiac arrest”defined to Guardian Dr. Dan Atar, professor of cardiology at Oslo College Hospital and co-author of the research. Particularly since “these employees are recruited of their international locations partly for his or her good well being (…)and but a whole lot of them die yearly in Qatar”.

Immigrant employees uncovered to this warmth would additionally develop severe continual kidney injury (known as CKDnt) which disproportionately impacts males occupying dealing with positions within the development trade. In a brief publication from March 2020, a staff of Nepalese researchers famous these systematic assaults on a cohort of 44 Nepalese employees adopted for six months in 2019, three quarters of whom returned from the Gulf international locations (and 1 / 4 from Malaysia). Whereas the medical causes of those kidney ailments are nonetheless undetermined, extreme working hours and lack of entry to crucial medical care appear to have performed a decisive position.

Learn additionally: Article reserved for our subscribers 2022 World Cup in Qatar: the explanations for the malaise

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