Human rights.  Sports Committee.  The FIFA World Cup as an opportunity for change in QatarWorld News 

Human rights. Sports Committee. The FIFA World Cup as an opportunity for change in Qatar

Human rights
Sports Committee. The FIFA World Cup as an opportunity for change in Qatar

A memorial ball is lying on the lawn. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Europe/Pool/dpa/Symbolbild

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During a public hearing on the FIFA World Cup, the sports committee of the German Bundestag endorsed the social progress of the host country, Qatar. “We have to take the opportunity to look beyond the World Cup,” said Sebastian Sons of the Center for Applied Research in partnership with Orient on Monday in Berlin. However, “the changes will not lead to democratization, but to liberalization.”

During a public hearing on the FIFA World Cup, the sports committee of the German Bundestag endorsed the social progress of the host country, Qatar. “We have to take the opportunity to look beyond the World Cup,” said Sebastian Sons of the Center for Applied Research in partnership with Orient on Monday in Berlin. However, “the changes will not lead to democratization, but to liberalization.”

It was criticized that the changes were not initiated until seven years after Qatar was awarded the prize in 2010. From the point of view of Katya Müller-Falbusch from Amnesty International, in 2021 there was already a serious lack of implementation of reforms. “We see progress, but also stagnation. For most of the workers, the situation has not improved much.”

There was agreement that progress in Qatar was better than in neighboring countries in the region, even if there were thousands of deaths and systematic human rights violations and exploitation of migrants.

Thomas Beschorner, director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen, sees a completely different effect in awarding major events to regimes. “Democratization and liberalization through major sporting events do not really happen and often serve to stabilize unjust regimes and enforce them around the world,” says Beshorener, “in sports we need to say goodbye to the history of ‘change through trade’.”

The world championship to be held in Qatar will take place from November 21 to December 18. The wealthy emirate is repeatedly criticized for human rights violations and exploitation of migrants. The government denies the allegations and is pushing for reforms in favor of foreign workers. Reports of discrimination against homosexuals have recently made headlines. In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to seven years in prison.

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