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Swiss set cooperation conditions for FIFA and Qatar on worker rights

02 May 2017

The international federation of football associations (FIFA) and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have agreed to cooperate to ensure the ongoing safety of workers building the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, after a human rights complaint by a trade body was resolved. The Swiss National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Swiss NCP) agreed a number of cooperative conditions with which all involved parties must comply.

The Swiss NCP was responding to a 28 May 2015 complaint from Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) about human rights violations concerning migrant workers building the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. The complaint asked the Swiss NCP to consider a specific instance under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines concerning FIFA, which is based in Zurich. The complaint was resolved on 21 March, and as part of the agreement, a ‘Final Statement’ was published today (PDF below).

The agreement requires a number of commitments from FIFA, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (responsible for delivering the Qatar 2022 infrastructure) and BWI. These are as follows:

• FIFA will invite BWI to appoint one of its staff as a member of its Human Rights Advisory Board. The Board held its first meeting in March this year, and will provide recommendations to FIFA every six months.
• BWI to be involved in the development and implementation of FIFA’s human rights policy contained within the new Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes.
• The human rights policy to be implemented in the Supreme Committee’s Workers’ Welfare Standards and Health and Safety Manual.
• Human rights compliance of subcontractors throughout the supply chain ‘is essential’, states the report, which mentions the ‘complexity’ of such compliance for tiers three and four of the supply chain.|
• Cooperation to be enhanced for resolving worker complaints on violations of the OECD guidelines that are not ‘addressed by existing mechanisms’.
• Parties to meet twice a year to discuss worker issues.
• FIFA and BWI to ‘strengthen their collaboration’ by reaching out to relevant stakeholders and local authorities to develop concrete measure to ensure that working and accommodation conditions are safe for Qatar 2022 stadium construction workers.
• Report to be sent to the Swiss NCP on progress made by 2 November this year. The NCP will then decide whether additional follow-up meetings are needed.