UN report condemns “structural racial discrimination” in Qatar

Written by Konrad Ostrowski


The United Nations has highlighted “serious concerns of structural racial discrimination” in a report on Qatar, which will be presented to the UN human rights council.

The damning report was produced by Tendayi Achiume, the UN’s special rapporteur for racism, who states that a “de facto caste system based on national origin” is present in Qatar.

Within the report, Achiume concludes that “European, North American, Australian and Arab nationalities systematically enjoy greater human rights protections than South Asian and sub-Saharan African nationalities.”

Image credit Reuters

Qatar, who will host the 2022 football World Cup, employ around 2 million migrant workers. The majority of these are low-wage labourers from South Asia and Africa who are employed on projects linked to the preparing for the tournament.


According to the report, these workers suffer discrimination and exploitation including unsafe working conditions, no payment, racial profiling by police and limited access to public spaces.

The Qatar government cancelled a visit by the UN special rapporteur on slavery, which was scheduled for January, after the preliminary report findings were published.

Image credit Andreas Gebert/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has been extremely controversial ever since it was announced in 2010. There have been numerous accusations towards FIFA of corruption surrounding the decision, which have been supported by leaked documents and resulted in arrests.

Furthermore, groups such as Amnesty International have condemned Qatar’s human rights record and at least 30 migrant labourers have died while working on stadiums for the tournament.

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