A youth ambassador’s thoughts on the Qatar World Cup

Qatar: A beautiful country with many difficulties.

Qatar: A beautiful country with many difficulties.
©Beatrice Langle

Beatrice Längle-Hagen is a youth ambassador for the SDGs of Caritas International Aid. She herself lived in Qatar for a while and shares her thoughts on the current situation:

The host country of the 2022 World Cup offers potential for conflict over the entire length.

On the one hand, the transparency of the election process was criticized, on the other hand, it was questioned whether countries that do not have the necessary infrastructure should even be considered as host countries. Only a short time later, allegations of serious human rights violations were made.

When we look at these questions, we realize that we are dealing with current debates such as the fight against corruption, the problem of ongoing climate change and the discussions about the protection of human rights.

It is necessary that human rights abuses in Qatar be condemned and action demanded. It is imperative that the conditions of the workers involved in the World Cup are improved, but not only here. If human rights are demanded, they must apply globally. That means for everyone, including those who help ensure our prosperity here in Austria. For example, by guaranteeing that all football-related goods, all our everyday clothing, but also our mobile phones, with which we can stream the World Cup, are manufactured under humane, fair working conditions. And I ask at this point, can we do that?

This leads to the aforementioned problem of climate change. The fact that stadiums are built from scratch in times like these is catastrophic from a climate point of view. Conversely, does this mean that only countries that have already built their stadiums and consumed raw materials are allowed to hold these events and get a piece of the western cake? Or is it not us who have contributed significantly to climate change and have maintained our wealth through colonization and exploitation?

It is these questions that made me understand, during an internship at the Austrian Embassy in Qatar in 2019, that we too quickly transfer our stereotypical opinions, e.g. that women in Qatar wear their abayas involuntarily or that alcohol is drunk anywhere in the world apply countries. We forget that we have no hegemony in determining the way of life of other countries.

We from the global west live a way of life that other countries want to share. And the question of whether it is our right to decide which country may be part of this world should be reconsidered, given that much of our consumer goods are manufactured in other countries under difficult human conditions.

Human rights must be respected, I emphasize this with all vehemence. We should therefore use the current explosive situation to bring the human rights agenda back into focus here too.

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