Australia call for Qatar to ‘establish a lasting legacy’ on human rights after World Cup

Australia call for Qatar to ‘establish a lasting legacy’ on human rights after World Cup

Members of Australia’s national team have called for Qatar to establish a migrant resource center and remedy-seeking mechanisms for individuals whose rights have been infringed as well as decriminalizing all same-sex relationships in order to « establish a lasting legacy » after the 2022 World Cup .

In a video distributed by Australian professional player’s union Professional Footballers Australia, several members of the Socceroos squad that featured throughout qualifying outlined their position on the staging of the tournament, which begins next month.

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« We stand with the likes of FIFPRO, the Building and Woodworkers International and the International Trade Union Confederation in seeking to embed reforms and establish a lasting legacy in Qatar, » Sunderland defender Bailey Wright said.

« This must include establishing a migrant resource centre, effective remedy for those who have been denied their rights and the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships, » St. Pauli midfielder Jackson Irvine added.

« These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar. »

Since being awarded hosting rights to the tournament over a decade ago, Qatar has faced intense scrutiny over its treatment of migrant workers, its criminalization of homosexuality and other human rights issues.

Members of both Australia’s men’s and women’s national teams have met on multiple occasions with Amnesty International, FIFA, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the International Labor Organisation, FIFPro and representatives of migrant workers in the lead-up to the tournament.

« We have learned that progress has been made both on paper and in practice, » Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson, who serves as president of the union, said.


« The Kafala system has largely been dismantled, working conditions have improved, and a minimum wage has been established. »

Wilkinson’s comments are followed by Nagoya Grampus goalkeeper Mitch Langerak saying that the implementation of these reforms, though welcome, « remains inconsistent and requires improvement. »

Australian player Josh Cavallo became the only openly gay top-flight male footballer in the world when he came out last October and expressed his reservations about the World Cup heading to Qatar in a recent interview with CNN Sport, saying « to see that we’re heading to a country that’s criminalizing people like myself… It’s quite concerning. »

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Speaking in the Socceroos’ video, Toulouse midfielder Denis Genreau, who was a teammate of Cavallo’s in the Melbourne City academy, reiterated the squad’s support for LGBTQI+ people, saying « as players, we fully support the rights of the LGBTI+ people but in Qatar people are not free to love the person they choose. »

Ten European football federations last month revealed their intention for their captains to wear an armband with a rainbow heart design as part of an anti-discrimination campaign during international matches. Discussions are ongoing to explore whether the Socceroos could pursue a similar initiative.

Qatar has consistently pushed back against critics of its human rights record, insisting improved conditions and protections for migrant workers have been implemented and claiming criticism is outdated.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told the emirate’s legislative body in a televised address that Qatar « has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced. »

« The campaign tends to continue and expand to include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives, » Sheikh Tamim said.


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