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Australia becomes first FIFA World Cup qualifying team to criticize Qatar’s human rights violations

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Sydney, AustraliaAustralia‘s senior men’s national team “Socceroos” has become the first 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying team to criticize the hosts, Qatar, for violating human rights.

Addressing the issue in a video, 16 Socceroos players took aim at the host nation’s treatment of migrant workers and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Many migrant workers, predominantly from south Asian nations, have died while building stadiums and infrastructure in Qatar, although the precise number is hotly contested

In the Socceroos clip, several players, including Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright, and Jamie Maclaren, along with the president of the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) union, Alex Wilkinson, took turns to make a brief statement.

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“We have learned that the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has resulted in the suffering and harm of countless of our fellow workers,” said Irvine.

In addition, Wilkinson said the team is working with several organizations to establish a lasting legacy in Qatar and called for the country to set up a migrant resource center.

“These migrant workers who have suffered are not just numbers. Like the migrants that have shaped our country and our football, they possess the same courage and determination to build a better life,” said Wilkinson.

The Socceroos also called for the decriminalization of all same-sex relationships and effective remedies for those who have been denied their rights to help improve the situation in the country.

“These are the basic rights that should be afforded to all and will ensure continued progress in Qatar. This is how we can ensure a legacy that goes well beyond the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” said the team.

Moreso, Federal Sports Minister, Anika Wells applauded the Socceroos for raising their voice.

“It is important players in sporting organizations have a platform to raise their voices and share concerns about issues that impact them in the workplace. The Socceroos have a powerful platform at the World Cup to positively impact the lives of others and create meaningful change. We agree wholeheartedly with their view that football is a game for everyone,” said the Minister.

Qatar has been criticized for its treatment of migrant workers, the criminalization of same-sex relationships, and its poor human rights record since it was announced as the host country back in 2010.

However, the Kafala system which regulated the lives of migrant laborers and allowed employers to take workers’ passports and stop them from leaving the country has been partially dismantled over the past few years.

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