Australia become first World Cup team to criticize Qatar’s human rights record

Australia have become the first team to issue a group statement criticizing Qatar for its poor human rights record.

Addressing the issue in a video, 16 players, including former Arsenal and Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan, took aim at the host country’s treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

“There are universal values ​​that should define football. Values ​​such as respect, dignity, trust and courage,” captain Ryan said.

“When we represent our nation, we aspire to embody these values.”

Qatar has been criticized for its treatment of migrant workers, the criminalization of same-sex relationships and its poor human rights record since winning this winter’s final in 2010.

The tournament’s organizing committee told Sky News that “no country is perfect” but that “protecting the health, safety, security and dignity of every worker contributing to this World Cup world” was his priority.

In the Socceroos clip, several players, including Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright and Jamie Maclaren, as well as Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) union president Alex Wilkinson took turns making a brief statement.

They acknowledged that conditions have improved for workers in the Gulf state, but noted that the implementation of reforms “remains inconsistent and requires improvement”.

The kafala system – which regulated the lives of migrant workers and allowed employers to take workers’ passports and prevent them from leaving the country – has been partially dismantled in recent years.

“A legacy that goes beyond the final whistle”

“We have learned that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and harm of countless of our colleagues,” said midfielder Jackson Irvine.

“These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers,” Wilkinson added.

“Like the migrants who have shaped our country and our football, they have the same courage and the same determination to build a better life”

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The team said it was working with several organizations to “establish a lasting legacy in Qatar” and called on the country to set up a resource center for migrants.

He also called for the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships and an “effective remedy” for those who have been disenfranchised to help improve the situation in the country.

“These are the basic rights that should be granted to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar,” the team stressed.

“This is how we can ensure a legacy that goes far beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

‘Don’t do anything gay, is that the message?’

Australian Josh Cavallo, who plays for Adelaide United, is one of the most prominent footballers to tell the world he is gay.

Earlier this month, former England striker Gary Lineker said he knows two gay Premier League players and he hopes they come out during the World Cup to send a strong message to Qatar.

Lineker was one of the key figures who led critic of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday, after suggesting that LGBT football fans traveling to the country should be “respectful of the host country”.

Mr Cleverly urged fans to show “a little flexibility and compromise” and to “respect the culture of your host country”, before Downing Street distanced itself from his comments.

Lineker wrote, “Whatever you do, don’t do anything gay. Is that the message?”

Australia will face defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.

What does Qatar say?

When approached by Sky News, a spokesman for the Supreme Delivery and Legacy Committee said: ”We commend footballers for using their platforms to raise awareness of important issues.

“We have made every effort to ensure this 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 contributing to this World Cup is our priority.

“This is achieved through our commitment to holding contractors accountable through our worker welfare standards, continuous work on improving health and safety practices, creating and developing forums for worker representation workers in conjunction with unions and international experts, a robust audit that includes an independent third-party monitor, working with contractors to ensure that workers who have paid recruitment fees are entitled to reimbursement, and ensuring that these policies lead to a shift in work culture that lasts well beyond 2022.

“The Qatari government’s labor reforms are recognized by the ILO, the ITUC and many human rights organizations as the benchmark in the region. New laws and reforms often take time to put in place , and rigorous enforcement of labor laws is a global challenge, including in Australia.

“No country is perfect, and every country – whether or not it hosts major events – has its challenges.

“This World Cup has contributed to a legacy of progress, better practice and better lives – and it’s a legacy that will live on long after the last ball has been kicked.”

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