How many people died for the Qatar World Cup? – DW – 11/16/2022!

Since Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, there has been controversy over its treatment of foreign workers and the human cost of the event. There are various estimates of the number of workers who have died on Qatar’s World Cup construction sites, but the true number is hard to ascertain.

This fact check looks at figures published by FIFA, Qatari authorities, human rights groups and the media, which are consistently flagged as facts, misleading or even false. The authors realize that these figures convey only a vague impression of the suffering migrant workers are alleged to have experienced in Qatar.

Claim: “The World Cup in Qatar claimed the lives of 6,500 – even as many as 15,000 – migrant workers.”

DW Validation: bloomer

The widely reported figure of 15,021 deaths among migrant workers in connection with the World Cup in Qatar is attributed to a Amnesty International Report 2021. Also widely reported is the number 6,500, which I published for the first time Watchman in February 2021.

Although these figures have been used to support this claim many times since these reports were published, neither Amnesty International nor the Guardian has claimed that all of these people died on stadium construction sites, or even in the apparent context of the 2022 World Cup. Both figures refer only to non-Qataris of different nationalities and professions who have died in Qatar in the past decade.

The figure 15021 quoted by Amnesty International was obtained from Official statistics from the Qatari authorities themselves, and refers to the number of foreigners who died in the country between 2010 and 2019. Between 2011 and 2020, it was 15,799.

15,000 dead – but not just for the sake of the World Cup

This does not only include poorly qualified construction workers, security personnel or gardeners who may or may not have worked on World Cup related projects; But also foreign teachers, doctors, engineers and other businessmen.

Many of them came from developing countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh, while others arrived from middle or high income countries. Country statistics do not allow for any more detailed analysis.

As for the Guardian, journalist Pete Pattison and his team based the total figure of 6,751 on official statistics from the governments of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, whose citizens make up a large proportion of migrant workers in Qatar – in particular. unqualified workers.

Katar Arbeitsmigranten
Nationals from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka make up a significant proportion of migrant workers in Qatar – particularly workers with poor qualificationsImage: Igor Kralj/Pixel Alliance/Image

Qatar does not deny either number. In fact, in response to The GuardianQatar’s Government Communications Office said: “While each loss of life is disturbing, the fatality rate among these communities is within the expected range for population size and demographics.” But is this true?

Claim: “The mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for population size and demographics.”

DW Validation: misleading

According to the Qatari government, 1,500 deaths per year among two million people is the normal average death rate.

First, it must be stated that according to World Health OrganizationGeneral mortality rates for migrant workers in their countries of origin are actually greater than those among those working in Qatar. In fact, even the death rate among Qatari nationals is higher than among migrant workers in Qatar.

However, since migrant workers in Qatar are not representative of the general population in their countries of origin or in Qatar, these numbers are misleading.

Migrant workers in Qatar are in good health upon arrival

For example, it is clear that the proportion of young children and the elderly—the demographic groups with the highest mortality rates—among migrant workers in Qatar cannot compare with that among the general population of any country.

Furthermore, migrant workers in Qatar, regardless of their background or occupation, are generally healthy people who must pass a full range of medical examinations in order to obtain a Qatari visa, with potential applicants with communicable diseases such as AIDS/HIV being filtered out. and hepatitis B. and C, syphilis or tuberculosis.

These statistics also do not include migrant workers who have passed away after returning to their countries of origin. In Nepal in the past 10 years, for example, the authorities have recorded a significant increase in the number of deaths Renal failure among men between the ages of 20 and 50 – many of whom had just returned from working in the Middle East.

The hard work in the Gulf weather conditions, coupled with the decrease in the quantity of drinking water and the decrease in the quality of drinking water, as reported by those affected, would explain this, According to health experts in Nepal.

Claim: There were only three deaths due to work on construction sites for World Cup stadiums.

DW Validation: misleading

Both FIFA and the Qatar World Cup Organizing Committee insist that only three people have died as a direct result of their work on World Cup construction sites. FIFA and Qatar’s official definition of “work-related fatalities” refers to deaths at the construction sites of the seven new stadiums, as well as training facilities that Qatar has built in the past decade. The three are two Nepalese men at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah and a Briton at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Broadening the definition to include “non-work-related deaths” not directly related to construction work, officials acknowledged 37 more deaths, including, for example, two Indians and an Egyptian who died in a traffic accident while traveling from work to their residence in November 2019. .

However, the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar unleashed the A real building boom In the Gulf country that goes beyond just stadiums. A whole host of tournament-related projects have been undertaken, including new highways, hotels, a new metro system, airport expansion and a whole new city in Lusail, north of Doha. In fact, even at the height of construction, FIFA claims that only slightly more than 30,000 workers were already working on select World Cup sites.

Fußball-WM 2022 - Gastarbeiter Nepal
There are different estimates of the number of workers who have died on World Cup construction sites in QatarPhoto: Hassan Ammar/AFP/DPA/Photo Alliance

The official acknowledgment Of the three deaths, and thus, of the deductions deaths that might have occurred at other construction sites and which would likely have existed had it not been for the World Cup. Nor does it take into account the thousands of documented cases of migrant workers dying in their places of residence outside working hours, for which no adequate explanations have been given.

According to research by The Guardian and Amnesty International, the latter using figures provided by the Bangladesh government, Qatari doctors attribute about 70% of deaths to “natural deaths” due to acute heart and respiratory failure.

However, in epidemiological terms, heart and respiratory failure is not a cause of death, but rather a consequence. Cardiac arrest can be caused by a heart attack or other irregularity, while respiratory failure may be caused by an allergic reaction or poisoning.

But no such explanations were given. In fact, in the 2022 documentary series by German public broadcaster ARDEven Qatari doctors reported being forced to fill out death certificates in this manner.

As early as 2014, in an independent report commissioned by the Qatari government, the global law firm DLA Piper He criticized the practice and “strongly recommended” that the government “allow autopsies or autopsies in cases of sudden or unexpected death”. In late 2021, the ILO also criticized the lack of sufficient documentation of accidents and causes of death.

According to experts interviewed by Amnesty International, the exact causes of death remain undetermined in only 1% of cases in “properly managed health systems”. Furthermore, invasive necropsies are rarely necessary. In about 85% of cases, a verbal autopsy involving witnesses or acquaintances of the deceased will suffice.

human rights organizations such as Human Rights WatchAnd the Amnesty International And the Fairsquare Speak regularly to these witnesses, whose reports indicate that heatstroke, exhaustion, or even minor untreated illnesses are at the root of many sudden unexplained deaths.

Nepal I am Todd von Migrant in Katar
In Nepal, priests and relatives cremated the body of a man who was working on road construction in Qatar in 2016 and died suddenly.Photo: Niranjan Shrest Alliance/Associated Press/Photos

In conclusion, the numbers referring to 2022 World Cup-related deaths vary depending on the definition, including where migrant workers came from, where and when they died, and whether or not their deaths can be described as work-related. However, due to the contradictions and deficiencies in the official statements of the State of Qatar, it is impossible to ascertain a concrete conclusion, which in turn raises the question as to why the Qatari authorities are unable to provide reliable information.

Thanks to Ellen Weissmuller of Amnesty International, Pete Pattison of The Guardian and Nicholas McGeehan of Fairsquare for their insights into their work, and for helping us make sense of their findings. Unfortunately, numerous requests for comment to authorities in Qatar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka remained unanswered at the time of publication.

Additional reporting by Sebastian Hauer

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