QATAR World Cup migrant workers were allegedly infiltrated by whistleblowers to spy on whistleblowers trying to expose exploitation.
Activists investigating conditions in migrant worker camps claim they are themselves being interviewed by construction workers at stadium construction sites in Qatar.
They claim the way they were questioned suggested their interrogators were professionally trained, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Equidem, a global human rights organization working exclusively in Qatar, has been told by sources that undercover security forces have allegedly been hired to weed out whistleblowers.
“We are in constant contact with workers in Qatar,” said Mustafa Qadri, CEO of Equidem.
“While there is an element of speculation, we know that people from Kenya, India and Nepal who look and speak like regular workers are essentially asking questions of people known as activists.”
According to Equidem, workers were able to track down the heartless whistleblowers in housing camps set up to build Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure ahead of November’s tournament.
They claim the spies all arrived recently.
They are believed to have been hiding there to spy on human rights organizations and workers who want to speak to them.
They are also said to be on the lookout for possible strike action and terrorist activity.
“In our opinion, it will be arranged by the government, not by individual companies,” Qadri said.
“But companies can also have their own people.
“I have to be extremely careful. There was a high level of surveillance, not only from journalists and people like me who visited the countries, but also from workers.
“And there is a pattern of reprisals for workers who file grievances.”
Malcolm Bidali, a Kenyan whistleblower who worked as a security officer in Qatar, was allegedly jailed and fined for “spreading and publishing false news to endanger the state’s public system”.
Bidali claims he was held in solitary confinement for a month before being released last June and said he was interrogated about information he shared about the mistreatment of migrant workers on World Cup construction sites.
Though work is nearing completion for the November championship, workers reportedly told Equidem they’ve noticed a spike in strange activity at several sites.
“Yes, you have local unions and other interest groups that are doing a really good job, but there is this very tightly controlled space where you can formally operate with government approval,” Qadri said.
“But when you’re outside of that, independent voices face significant risks.”
He claims thousands of workers are still waiting to be paid, while organizers have reportedly paid David Beckham £150million to act as World Cup ambassador.
Qadri also claims that visiting journalists and activists were banned from taking photos of the camps and that migrant workers were reportedly threatened with deportation if they spoke to outsiders.
Nicholas McGeehan, co-founder of the human rights organization FairSquare, has called on FIFA and Qatar to set up a compensation program for working-class families waiting to be paid.
The Guardian revealed how 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since hosting the 2022 World Cup was handed over to the Middle Eastern country.
The extreme summer heat and poor working conditions in Qatar are believed to be responsible for the deaths.
“Seventy percent of migrant worker deaths are unexplained, and for World Cup stadium projects it’s still 50 percent,” McGeehan said.
“The unexplained death rate in the UK is probably around 1 per cent.
“Qatari’s failure to implement basic safeguards is inexcusable. The workers essentially toil in a toxic sauna.
“‘[Compensation] is doable and would transform the lives of the families who built this World Cup.
“Workers borrowed obscene sums of money to get to Qatar in hopes of lifting their families out of poverty, and some returned in body bags without telling loved ones how they died.”
The Qatari government has called the allegations “manifestly untrue” and said in an official statement that it is “proactively working with NGOs such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch to resolve workers’ grievances”.
The Sun Online has reached out to FIFA for comment.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5341885/qatar-world-cup-workers-infiltrated-by-spies/ Qatar World Cup migrant workers ‘are infiltrated by whistleblowers to spy on whistleblowers trying to expose exploitation’