Researchers arrested after looking into labor conditions in Qatar


Tales of woe regarding migrant workers constructing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are nothing new, sadly, but now some potentially shady dealings by the nation itself have to be concerning fans and soccer people worldwide.

We know of the reports claiming many workers will die under poor work conditions, and that Amnesty International issued a scary report on those conditions.

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And so perhaps it follows suit that two British workers have been detained by Qatar officials after going to Qatar to explore whether the country’s pledge to amend those conditions have been successful.

From the AFP:

Krishna Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev, who work for the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), were arrested in Doha on August 31.

On its website, GNRD said that a British authority representative had transferred a message from Upadhyaya to his family saying: “I am well, I have been well looked after and I will be home soon.”

“We have been arrested due to problems with our paperwork,” he was quoted as saying.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International raised concerns on Thursday about the pair’s “enforced disappearance,” saying they went missing after checking out of their hotel in Doha.

They had been carrying out follow-up research on the working conditions of migrant labourers after Qatari authorities promised a raft of reforms to address an international outcry over working conditions as the emirate prepares to host football’s premier tournament.

Surely the guys who have been arrested are going to say, “Yeah, we’re being treated great! Five-star meals and brand new mattresses!”

While Sepp Blatter has claimed the reports against Qatar are fueled by racism, stories like this are obviously concerning for what they are but also what they could mean. What journalist is interested in covering the World Cup in a nation where they could be arrested for, well, reporting?

With the understanding that some stories get overblown, it still demands that we ask: can we just move the tournament already?