Qatar and Human rights issues: German players speak up for the oppressed

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German players protested against the poor human rights record in Qatar by stepping on the pitch wearing black T-shirts with Human Rights spelled on them ahead of their World Cup qualification match against Iceland. The German team went on to win the game 3-0.

Since the world football governing body, FIFA, gave Qatar the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, pressure has been mounting on the Arabian country to reform its oppressive labor laws. The country is believed to have a series of poor human rights records against which Amnesty International and other international bodies have been advocating for a change.

Activists across the world believe that FIFA can use the opportunity of the forthcoming World Cup to push the government of Qatar to amend some of the country’s oppressive laws before the World Cup commences.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino was recently quoted as saying that things are improving in the Arabian country and things might get better before the World Cup kick-offs on 21 November 2022.

Also, the government of the country had said the country is working in partnership with relevant international bodies to improve things in the country before the World Cup.

On Wednesday, March 24, Norway’s national team protested against the poor Human rights record of Qatar before a World Cup qualification match. After the action, FIFA issued a statement to stress that the country would not be sanctioned.

“Fifa believes in the freedom of speech, and in the power of football as a force for good,” a FIFA statement said.

On Thursday, Germany followed the same step to further show how concerned the footballers are about the Human rights abuses that have been reported in the country.

The attention of the world was brought to the inhumane treatment migrant workers have been suffering in Qatar after Guardian published a report in February stating that 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded to the country in 2010.

“We have the World Cup coming up and there will be discussions about it,” said Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka. “We wanted to show we are not ignoring that.

“We have a large reach and we can use it to set an example for the values we want to stand for.”

On the 3-0 win over Iceland, the coach of German national team, Joachim Low said: “It wasn’t our most incredible performance, but it was very important to make a positive start to the new year and that’s what we’ve done tonight.

“We knew they’d sit deep and we knew we were going to have to force them to move to create space. I think we did that really well for at least 60 minutes.”