FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board publishes its first report

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Article
9 November 2017

Fifa urged to strengthen workers' rights in Russia & Qatar

Author: Dan Roan, BBC (UK)

[T]he advisory board said [...] "We recognise that Fifa has taken important steps, particularly by adopting a new Human Rights Policy, fighting discrimination connected to matches and integrating human rights requirements into the 2026 Fifa World Cup bidding documents. We also make 33 detailed recommendations on issues Fifa should focus on, including, as a priority, building on what has been done to date by continuing to strengthen efforts to address risks to workers' rights on World Cup stadium construction sites in Russia and Qatar. We highlight the long-term commitment required from Fifa to build systems at the operational level that can proactively identify and respond to the most severe human rights risks." [...] "This report should be a wake-up call for Fifa, which has held back from using its considerable leverage with regard to Qatar's abusive sponsorship system" said James Lynch, Amnesty International's deputy director of global issues. "This is Fifa's own independent human rights advisory board telling it to take a clear position on Qatar's laws, and to act on that." [...] Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura said: "This report shows that Fifa is making important progress in integrating respect for human rights throughout its wide range of activities."

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Article
9 November 2017

FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board publishes its first report

Author: FIFA

The Human Rights Advisory Board, which was created in early 2017 to provide independent advice on FIFA’s human rights responsibilities, published its first report today... [The] report sets a baseline: it evaluates FIFA’s human rights progress to date and outlines where FIFA needs to focus in its efforts to prevent and address risks to people connected to its operations. We recognise that FIFA has taken important steps, particularly by adopting a new Human Rights Policy, fighting discrimination connected to matches and integrating human rights requirements into the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding documents. We also make 33 detailed recommendations on issues FIFA should focus on, including, as a priority, building on what has been done to date by continuing to strengthen efforts to address risks to workers’ rights on FIFA World Cup stadium construction sites in Russia and Qatar.

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Article
9 November 2017

Report does not go far enough in urging Fifa to press Qatar on conditions for World Cup stadium workers, says human rights expert

Author: David Conn, The Guardian (UK)

Fifa has been urged by its own advisory board on human rights to press the government in Qatar about the impact of the kafala system on workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, which campaigners have described as modern slavery... However, the report [...] which says Fifa has improved its commitment to decent human rights standards, was criticised as inadequate by the Gulf expert Nicholas McGeehan... McGeehan sent his research to the advisory board last month, and asked it to recommend that Fifa insist Qatar put more protections for workers in place, investigate the deaths of workers rigorously and publish its findings. However, the report only says it has requested further information about inquiries made into workers’ deaths and recommends that Fifa “support discussions” about “greater synergies” between various parts of the inspection system in Qatar... Rachel Davis, a member of the advisory board, said its report was completed in early September before McGeehan’s research was published, but that the issues were discussed last month and the board “will be taking forward our commitment to follow up on it”.

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Article
9 November 2017

Report needs to be more explicit on FIFA’s responsibilities around issues like exit permit & deaths of migrant workers, says Amnesty

Author: Amnesty International

FIFA should act immediately on a series of critical recommendations made today in the first report published by its Human Rights Advisory Board, said Amnesty International... The report [...] welcomes developments such as the organization’s adoption of a new human rights policy, but makes clear the board’s concern about the well-documented risks to workers in both Russia and Qatar... “This report should be a wake-up call for FIFA, which has held back from using its considerable leverage with regard to Qatar’s abusive sponsorship system,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International... The report omits some key issues related to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. It does not call for FIFA to press Qatar to investigate the deaths of migrant workers and to abolish the abusive exit permit system... “We would like to see some clearer language around key issues, like the exit permit and deaths of migrant workers...” said James Lynch. FIFA has this year taken a series of institutional steps around human rights, including the publication of a human rights policy and the development of new bidding and hosting guidelines for future World Cups.

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