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'Between 400 and 500' migrant workers died on World Cup projects, Qatar official says

The death toll of migrant workers who prepared Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup is “between 400 and 500,” according to the official responsible for organizing the event. Photo By Martin Divise/EPA-EFE
The death toll of migrant workers who prepared Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup is “between 400 and 500,” according to the official responsible for organizing the event. Photo By Martin Divise/EPA-EFE

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The death toll of migrant workers who prepared Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup is "between 400 and 500," according to the official responsible for organizing the event.

Appearing on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for delivery and legacy, estimated the "honest and realistic total" of migrant workers who died on World Cup-related projects is at least 400.

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"The estimate is around 400," he told Morgan. "Between 400 and 500. I don't have the precise number, that is something that is being discussed."

Morgan responded, "That is a lot of people," to which al-Thawadi agreed.

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"One death is a death too many," he said. "Every year, I think the health and safety standards on the sites are improving. At least on our sites; the World Cup sites that we're responsible for."

The secretary general said representatives of the trade unions have commended the improvements made to working conditions on the World Cup projects.

The Supreme Committee previously reported 40 migrant worker deaths, including three that were work related since 2014. In 2021, the Guardian reported 6,500 migrant workers died since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup on Dec. 2, 2010. Those workers came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

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The Guardian story also suggests an even higher death total because the deaths of workers from other countries such as Kenya and the Philippines were not included.

The comments from al-Thawadi come after several international bodies have applied pressure to Qatar and Fifa over the awarding and execution of the World Cup.

The European Union condemned both for the mistreatment and poor working conditions, as well as human rights violations by the host country. It approved a resolution to order both parties to compensate migrant workers and continue with worker's rights reform.

RELATED EU calls on Fifa, Qatar to compensate migrant workers

In October, Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization, reported Qatari security forces were detaining LGBT residents without reason and subjecting them to poor treatment and outright abuse.

"Qatari authorities need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people," the organization said in its report.

The 2022 Fifa World Cup will continue until the championship on Dec.18.

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