FIFA World Cup 2022 : According to workers who were evicted, Qatar has evacuated apartment complexes in the capital Doha that house hundreds of foreign workers and where visiting soccer fans would stay during the World Cup.
Authorities, they claimed, had evacuated and closed down more than a dozen buildings, forcing the primarily Asian and African workers to seek refuge in any way they could, including sleeping on the sidewalk outside one of their old homes.
The action comes less than four weeks before the start of the global soccer tournament on November 20, which has provoked widespread international criticism of Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers and draconian social restrictions.
Residents in one building in Doha’s Al Mansoura district were given two hours to leave at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. According to municipal officials, they returned at about 10.30 p.m., pulled everyone out, and shut the facility’s doors. Some of the men had not returned in time to get their belongings.
“We don’t have anywhere to go,” one man told sources the next day as he prepared to sleep out with around ten other men, some of whom were shirtless in the Gulf Arab state’s October heat and humidity.
For fear of punishment from authorities or employers, he and the majority of other workers who spoke to sources refused to provide their names or personal information.
A mattress and a small refrigerator were being carried into the back of a pickup truck nearby by five men. They claimed to have found a room in Sumaysimah, 25 kilometers (40 miles) north of Doha. The evictions, according to a Qatari government official, are unrelated to the World Cup and were scheduled “in line with ongoing comprehensive and long-term plans to re-organize portions of Doha.
All have now been rehoused in secure and suitable lodgings,” the official said, adding that any requests to leave “would have been conducted with due notice.” FIFA, soccer’s governing body, did not react to a request for comment, and Qatar’s World Cup organizers addressed their concerns to the government.
Around 85% of Qatar’s three million residents are foreign workers. Many of those who have been expelled work as drivers, day laborers, or have contracts with businesses, but they must provide their lodging, unlike those employed by large construction corporations, who live in camps with tens of thousands of people.
According to one worker, the evictions targeted single male workers while ignoring international workers with families. A reporter with insider information saw more than a dozen buildings where inhabitants said they were evicted. Certain buildings’ power has been switched off.
The vast majority were in locations where the government had rented out properties to World Cup fans. The organizers’ website lists buildings in Al Mansoura and surrounding districts with flats for rent ranging from $240 to $426 per night.
According to the Qatari source, municipal authorities have begun enforcing a 2010 Qatari ordinance that prohibits “workers’ camps near family living areas” – a category that includes much of central Doha – and grants them jurisdiction to transfer people.
Some of the evicted workers said they expected to find new houses among the purpose-built workers’ housing on Doha’s southern outskirts or in neighboring cities, a long travel from their places of employment.
According to Vani Saraswathi, Director of Projects at Migrant-Rights.org, an organization that fights for migrant workers in the Middle East, the evictions “maintain Qatar’s glossy and affluent image without openly addressing the cheap labor that allows it.”
“This is deliberate ghettoization at best. Evictions with little or no warning, on the other hand, are beyond comprehension.” Some employees said they were evicted multiple times. One individual said he was forced to change buildings in Al Mansoura at the end of September, only to be relocated 11 days later without notice, along with 400 others. “We had one minute to get there,” he explained.
Mohammed, a Bangladeshi driver, said he had lived in the same neighborhood for 14 years until the municipality told him on Wednesday that he had 48 hours to leave the house he shared with 38 others. He alleged that as the World Cup approaches, laborers who built the infrastructure for Qatar’s hosting are being pushed aside.
FIFA World Cup 2022
The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be the 22nd edition of the tournament, which is a quadrennial international men’s football championship contested by senior national teams from FIFA member countries. It will take place from November 20 to December 18, 2022, in Qatar.
This will be the first World Cup to be hosted in the Arab world, and the second World Cup to be held only in Asia, following the tournament in South Korea and Japan in 2002. Furthermore, this will be the final tournament with 32 teams, with a 48-team increase scheduled for the 2026 event in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Due to Qatar’s high summer heat, this World Cup will be held from late November to mid-December, making it the first event not held in May, June, or July and will be held in the northern autumn; it will be played over a shorter period of approximately 29 days. Qatar and Ecuador kick off the competition at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. The final will take place on December 18, 2022, which also happens to be Qatar National Day. The current World Cup champion is France.
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