Migrant Labour and the World Cup

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

On Nov. 17, 2020 The Georgetown Gazette organized a virtual conversation session on “Migrant Labour and the World Cup” led by Harleen Osahan (Class of 2021), the former administrator of the Gazette, and James Lynch, the director of FairSquare Research and Projects. Lynch is an expert on a range of human rights issues such as labour practices, business, and human rights, and civil and political rights. He also worked at Amnesty International and the UK Foreign Office focusing on the Middle East and Africa. 

Lynch talked about the exploitation of the migrant laborers, their rights, and the World Cup. He began the session by talking about his personal involvement in workers’ rights in the Gulf, starting in 2010. Qatar won its bid to host the FIFA World Cup the same year and thus came under the spotlight. The limelight brought with it international scrutiny over the workers’ condition and exploitation. However, this was not the start of the exploitation process itself. Lynch stated that Qatar faced a huge demand for a foreign workforce after the establishment of its first oil mill. As the industries in Qatar grew the demand for labour increased manifold. 

The Kafala system is an instrumental part of labour rights and exploitation in the Gulf countries. Lynch specifically discussed this law and its effects on workers. Kafala is limiti