Qatar: Ongoing debate over migrant worker deaths exposes need for truth and compensation

Responding to comments made by the Secretary General of the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee, Hassan Al Thawadi, about migrant worker deaths during an interview with Piers Morgan, and a subsequent clarification of those comments issued by the Supreme Committee, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said: 

“The continued debate around the number of workers who have died in the preparation of the World Cup exposes the stark reality that so many bereaved families are still waiting for truth and justice.     

“Over the last decade, thousands of workers have returned home in coffins, with no explanation given to their loved ones. Qatar’s extreme heat and gruelling working conditions are likely to have contributed to hundreds of these deaths, but without full investigations the true scale of lives lost can never be known. Meanwhile, families are suffering the added anguish of severe financial insecurity that comes from losing the main wage earner. 

There can be no excuse for denying families truth, justice and compensation any longer

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty's Head of Economic and Social Justice

“There is nothing natural about this scale of loss and there can be no excuse for denying families truth, justice and compensation any longer. Until all abuses suffered by migrant workers in Qatar are remedied, the legacy of this World Cup will be severely tarnished by their mistreatment.” 


During an interview on Piers Morgan’s ‘Uncensored’ programme, Hassan Al Thawadi said that an estimated 400-500 migrant workers had died as a result of work they were carrying out for the World Cup. The Supreme Committee subsequently issued a clarification stating that the figure cited by Al Thawadi referred to national statistics from 2014-2020 covering all work-related fatalities nationwide in Qatar, covering all sectors and nationalities.