• Switzerland's news in English
Report: Fifa must prove it respects human rights
Fifa has faced mounting criticism over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. File photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

Report: Fifa must prove it respects human rights

AFP · 14 Apr 2016, 15:30

Published: 14 Apr 2016 15:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In December Fifa -- based in Zurich -- asked John Ruggie, a former UN special representative on business and human rights, to assess its human rights efforts as the organization faced mounting criticism over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
"Fifa has been beset by allegations about human rights abuses in connection with its events and relationships," said the report by the Harvard University specialist.
"Prominent among them have been reported deaths among migrant construction workers in Qatar, which was awarded the 2022 Men's World Cup, and the country's kafala system that often leaves migrant workers in situations of bonded labour.
"Other tournaments have raised concerns about forced evictions of poor communities to make way for stadiums and other infrastructure, and clamp-downs on freedom of expression among citizens and journalists."
Ruggie raised tough questions about Fifa's consideration of human rights when choosing tournament hosts and highlighted a decision to stage the Women's Under-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea in November-December this year.
"Papua New Guinea is known as one of the world's worst places for sexual violence against women and police are often among the perpetrators," said the report.
Fifa's decisions have "left individuals and communities vulnerable and Fifa's own reputation exposed," Ruggie said as he exposed gaps in Fifa's management and policies.
"At this time, Fifa does not yet have adequate systems in place enabling it to know and show that it respects human rights in practice," he said.

Fifa 'not doing enough'

Ruggie said the world body, also facing widespread condemnation over corruption scandals in football, must quickly integrate human rights principles into its practices for the selection of the 2026 World Cup host.
The bidding campaign has been suspended because of the bribery scandals that have beset football. It is due to start this year however.
"Fifa is not responsible for all human rights abuses by organizations it works with, or any country in which its events are staged," said Ruggie.
"But it is responsible for its own involvement with such risks, whether the connection is through its events, commercial subsidiaries and business partners, members or other parties."
Ruggie said that Fifa is not doing enough to put human rights in accords with the host countries of World Cup and other events, nor to put pressure on those countries when there are problems.
Without naming any current World Cup host country, Ruggie said: "Where Fifa is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship."
If it could not do this it had to clearly explain why, he added.
Ruggie said Fifa should work with "local stakeholders, sponsors, international organizations, and others" to put pressure on governments.
"The option of ending a relationship itself is an important source of leverage and should be clearly communicated to bidders, suppliers, licensees and other relevant entities," said the report.
"Like any other enterprise, Fifa needs to be able to terminate a relationship if peoples' human rights are abused. This means writing it into its agreements for World Cup tournaments from the start," Ruggie told AFP.
"Fifa is fully committed to respecting human rights," Fifa president Gianni Infantino said in a statement welcoming Ruggie's report. But he acknowledged that "of course challenges remain".
Infantino said that Fifa wants to be "a leader among international sports organizations."

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available