Press Releases


End of the World Cup in Qatar

Human rights violations continue unabated

On the occasion of the end of the Football World Cup in Qatar, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) emphasized that the human rights situation in the emirate still needs to be monitored. “The pressure on Qatar had already eased during the World Cup,” explained Tabea Giesecke, STP expert on ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities. “If the topic of the human rights situation – which is still worrying – disappears from view again, Qatar gets to keep the image boost, but the situation of those who are affected will not improve.”

Ever since – in 2010 – Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, the STP has been warning that the country is trying to use the Football World Cup to distract from the fact that it is financing Islamist groups that are committing the most serious human rights violations in several other countries. Now, at the end of the World Cup, it shows that there was a critical discourse – but nothing much has changed regarding the actions of the Emirate. “Especially persons in positions of power did not speak out clearly enough – or take appropriate steps with regard to the human rights violations,” Giesecke added. “On the other hand, many football fans organized protests or decided to boycott the event, to emphasize that they don’t want football to be instrumentalized for political or economic interests. The critical debate must continue. The situation of the religious minorities in the country, the women, and the queer people in the country has hardly changed – if at all.”

Major sporting events are still attractive for regimes that are trying to gain influence. Thus, China has applied to host the Women’s Football World Cup in 2031. “China is committing countless serious human rights violations against Uyghur women. They are forcibly sterilized, forced to undergo abortions, and their children are taken away to be indoctrinated in state-run boarding schools. Further, many are forced to take medications. A state like this should not be allowed to host the Football World Cup,” emphasized Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

Regimes such as Qatar and China are supporting each other in their machinations. Recently, Qatar had denied the genocide crimes against the Uyghur people – and the Emirate is supporting China in trying to block UNHRC investigations into the genocide crimes and other serious human rights violations.