We asked every country at the World Cup for their views on Qatar – here’s what they said

In a video posted last week, Australia became the first 2022 World Cup team to collectively address the human rights record of host country Qatar.

The film – produced by the Australian Players Association, not its Football Association – raises concerns about the “suffering” of migrant workers and has called for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

In doing so, Australia became the first national team to publicly claim this ultimate requirement.

In Qatar, homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

This month’s World Cup, controversial for the reasons described in this article, has been criticized by human rights activists for the deaths of thousands of migrant workers since the country was awarded the right to host the tournament in 2010.

However, realization by the athlete I just revealed it Two of the 32 World Cup nations – Belgium and Denmark – support Australia’s call for Qatar to decriminalize homosexuality.

The Athlete They wrote to every country at the World Cup asking if they support Australia’s call to decriminalize homosexuality and if they also plan to show a video to speak publicly about workers and LGBT+ rights.

Homosexuality is illegal in eight of 32 countries – Qatar, Senegal, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon and Ghana.

Out of 31 countries, 11 countries submitted the athlete With detailed responses.

However, only Denmark and Belgium described themselves as “completely allied” with Australia on all issues, including the decriminalization of homosexuality.

A Royal Belgian Football Association spokesperson said: “We embrace all initiatives taken by the various football federations in support of human rights. It is not our goal to make such a video with the Belgian Red Devils, but the position of our federation, our players and our staff is exactly the same as that of Australia.”

The Danish Football Association added: “The Danish Football Association does not agree with the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We did not vote for it and we think it is highly controversial. Through critical dialogue and presence in Qatar, DBU will have an active joint responsibility for creating better conditions for migrant workers working with the Qatar World Cup administration.

“In other words – we have the same opinions, statements and actions as those in Australia.”

Denmark’s kit, made by Hummel, protested on the tournament website, camouflaging the Hummel and DFB badges because both “did not wish to appear during the tournament that cost thousands of people their lives”.

When asked before the athleteseveral other countries They noted their membership in the UEFA Working Group, a group of countries that are publicly calling for the Migrant Compensation Fund and the construction of a center for migrant workers in Qatar.

First proposed by the president of the Swiss Football Association, it currently includes the Netherlands, England, the United States, Wales, France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland (with Portugal and Spain allying independently).

The UEFA Working Group of FIFA and Qatar set a target on October 31 to update them on plans to support migrant workers and to request assurances “that all fans, including those from LGBT+ communities, will be welcome”. An update is expected in the coming days.

However, while many states’ captains will wear the “OneLove” anti-discrimination badge in support of LGBT+ rights to the tournament, the working group stops short of explicitly calling for decriminalization.

Craig Foster is a former leader of Australia, who has become a human rights activist since his retirement. In addition to his role in football, he is an ambassador for both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

‘” Foster said, referring to the Australian video, in which 16 of their players participated the athlete: “The Australian players’ statement should come from FIFA and every federation in the world. But political and economic pressures have clearly led to watered-down statements in support of ‘anti-discrimination’ and ‘collective action’. Australia’s statement stands out because it fully complies with FIFA’s requirements under its human rights policy.

“Many federations and players have talked about the MRC. It is commendable, but there is no danger in doing so. But holding FIFA and the Supreme Committee (the Qatari body responsible for building and delivering the World Cup infrastructure) responsible for the damage that has already occurred and demanding that it be remedied – that is difficult .

“It is absolute credit to the bravery of the players because they are clearly resisting the prevailing sports culture and this requires tremendous courage.”

Pride Football Australia, a group that promotes LGBT+ issues in sports, tweeted: “First country to speak up. But hopefully not the last.”

Australia start their World Cup campaign against defending champion France on November 22, then face Tunisia and Denmark in the other Group D matches.

Some of the coaches and players present at the World Cup have spoken openly.

For example, Portugal coach Fernando Santos appeared in a powerful Amnesty video, while his Brazilian counterpart Tite publicly expressed his support for paying workers compensation – a position that the Brazilian Confederation has not supported.

He said other federations – such as those in Japan and Croatia – the athlete That while they are concerned about human rights, they trust FIFA’s assurances that they will “resolve social issues”.

21 countries did not respond to the athletequestions at all.

For Foster, the unions have to go further.

“We’re seeing largely token statements, performance slogans, and a bit of outright solidarity,” he explains. “The whole game is linked to internationally recognized human rights, which means no discrimination on the boundaries of sexuality. There is no room for maneuver here.

“It is not acceptable for the game to limit its advocacy on the grounds that it will make Qatar uncomfortable or make FIFA uncomfortable. People talk about Qatari culture and say, ‘Well, you should respect the culture.’ Football should not respect the culture, it should respect the culture. Human rights, it’s quite different.

“But at the moment world football is trying to draw a line in the sand to make Qatar feel more comfortable.”

Foster is not optimistic that other teams – with the exception of Belgium and Denmark – will follow the path taken by Australia:

“I hope other teams will follow suit – but I don’t, given the short time frame and the political and economic pressures on players, clubs and administrators around the world.

“But what makes me happy is that the Australian team has set a standard here for the future of defending athletes and football. That is the standard we need to see from every team in future World Cups, and indeed, throughout the match.”

Responding to the allegations in the Australian video, the Qatar Organizing Committee said: “We applaud footballers using their platforms to raise awareness of what matters. We have done our best to ensure that the World Cup has a transformative impact on improving lives, especially for those involved in building the competition and non-competition venues for which we are responsible.

“Protecting the health, safety, security and dignity of every worker who contributes to this World Cup is our priority.

The International Labor Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation, and several human rights organizations have recognized the Qatari government’s reforms to serve as a benchmark in the region. New laws and reforms often take time to sleep, and robust enforcement of labor laws is a global challenge, including in Australia.

“No country is perfect and every country – whether it hosts major events or not – has its challenges. This World Cup has contributed to a legacy of progress, better practice, and a better life – a legacy that will live long after the final ball is kicked.”

FIFA has also been contacted for comment.

(main drawing by Eamonn Dalton)

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