Qatar summons German envoy over World Cup rights criticism

Oct 27, 2022, 9:35 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2022, 6:17 am
FILE - German interior Minister Nancy Faeser raises the rainbow flag for the first time at the Germ...

FILE - German interior Minister Nancy Faeser raises the rainbow flag for the first time at the German Interior Ministry in Berlin, Germany, on May 17, 2022. Qatar has summoned the German ambassador over remarks by Germany’s interior minister, who appeared to criticize the decision to award the World Cup to the Gulf Arab nation because of its human rights record. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

Qatar summoned the German ambassador on Friday over remarks by Germany’s interior minister, who appeared to criticize the decision to award the World Cup to the Gulf Arab nation because of its human rights record.

It was the first time Qatar has summoned an ambassador following years of heavy international scrutiny of its treatment of migrant workers and criminalization of homosexual relations.

With just weeks to go before the start of the soccer tournament, Qatari officials appear increasingly frustrated with such criticism, which they say is often unfounded and ignores progress on labor issues in recent years. Some have questioned the motives of critics, accusing them of unfairly singling out the first Arab or Muslim nation to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

Over 1.2 million fans are expected to descend on the tiny desert nation, whose natural gas riches have made it among the wealthiest countries on earth, for the month-long tournament that begins Nov. 20.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is also responsible for sports, plans to travel to Qatar on Monday and Tuesday with the government’s human rights commissioner, German lawmakers and a delegation from the German soccer federation.

Her ministry said the visit would center on human rights questions regarding the tournament, including the protection of LGBTQ people against discrimination and persecution, and responsibility for migrant workers who built the stadiums.

In comments carried by German broadcaster ARD on Thursday, Faeser said that the German government is convinced that the awarding of major sports events should be tied to observance of human rights and sustainability. ARD reported that, asked about the decision to send the World Cup to Qatar, she said that “there are criteria that have to be kept to, and then it would be better not to award to such states.”

In an official statement issued on Friday, Faeser noted that “no World Cup takes place in a vacuum.” She added that with regard to future international sporting events, “we must ensure that their awarding and organization is tied to human rights standards.”

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned the ambassador to convey its “disappointment and complete rejection and condemnation” of Faeser’s remarks. It did not specify whether it was referring to the comments to ARD or her official statement.

In a televised speech earlier this week, Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said his country “has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,” one that has included “fabrications and double standards.”

The Al Jazeera news network, which is based in Qatar and funded by the government, published a video on its O2 digital platform suggesting that international criticism was rooted in “Qatarphobia,” with the West singling Qatar out because it is an Arab and Muslim country. The official Qatar news agency has aired comments from Qataris expressing anger at the criticism.

Qatar has said much of the criticism of its treatment of migrant workers ignores reforms enacted in recent years that have been praised by the U.N. as well as major human rights groups. Those groups have said, however, that implementation has been lacking and more needs to be done to address widespread abuses, including wage theft and harsh working conditions.

Qatari law punishes homosexual activity with 1-3 years in prison. Authorities have said LGBTQ fans are welcome to attend the tournament, while urging all visitors to respect the country’s conservative culture.

Several European teams in the World Cup have asked FIFA for permission for their captains to wear rainbow armbands as part of the “One Love” campaign. Federations have also expressed support for a campaign to set up a compensation fund for workers harmed during the construction of stadiums and sprawling infrastructure over the 12 years since Qatar was awarded the World Cup.

___

Associated Press reporters Geir Moulson in Berlin and Lujain Jo in Doha, Qatar, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs the ball against Illinois in the first half of an NCAA c...
Associated Press

AP source: Michigan RB Corum (knee) expected to have surgery

Michigan star running back Blake Corum is expected to have surgery on his injured left knee that would cause him to miss the postseason, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Michigan was not publicly disclosing Corum’s condition. No. 2 […]
19 hours ago
Connecticut's Jordan Hawkins (24) reacts after making a basket in the first half of an NCAA college...
Associated Press

Hawkins leads unbeaten No. 8 UConn past Okla St 74-64

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Jordan Hawkins scored a career-high 26 points to lead unbeaten No. 8 UConn past Oklahoma State 74-64 on Thursday night in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. Adama Sanogo added 20 points and Andre Jackson scored 11 for the Huskies (9-0). It was the smallest margin of victory for UConn so far […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Amoore’s triple-double lifts No. 9 Va Tech over Nebraska

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Georgia Amoore had 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the first triple-double in Virginia Tech history as the No. 9 Hokies beat Nebraska 85-54 on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Elizabeth Kitley added 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Hokies (7-0), who were playing their first […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

No. 20 Maryland upsets No. 7 Notre Dame at the buzzer, 74-72

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Diamond Miller scored 31 points, including the game-winner at the buzzer, to lead No. 20 Maryland to a 74-72 victory over seventh-ranked Notre Dame on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Irish guard Sonia Cintron’s layup had tied the game with 15 seconds left off before Maryland held for […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

No. 23 Gonzaga women beat SFA in homecoming for Truong twins

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (AP) — Kaylynne Truong had 21 points and seven assists, Yvonne Ejim added 19 points and nine rebounds and No. 23 Gonzaga beat Stephen F. Austin 71-59 on Thursday night in a homecoming for the Truong twins. Kayleigh Truong and Kaylynne both graduated from Jersey Village High School in Houston. In 2019, they […]
19 hours ago
North Carolina's Teonni Key (13) shoots over Indiana's Mackenzie Holmes (54) during the first half ...
Associated Press

No. 5 Indiana’s 3-point barrage buries No. 6 North Carolina

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 25 points, Sydney Parrish added 24 and No. 5 Indiana hit 12 3-pointers to defeat No. 6 North Carolina 87-63 on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The battle of unbeatens had drastically different shooting nights. The Hoosiers got hot to improve to 8-0 and the Tar […]
19 hours ago
Qatar summons German envoy over World Cup rights criticism