In a major breakthrough for human rights and sport, a report on FIFA’s human rights obligations, has been released by Professor John Ruggie. As one of the world’s foremost human rights experts, Ruggie sets a clear agenda for FIFA to act. It also establishes a global requirement for all sports organisations, both for major events and for their ongoing operations including marketing and sponsorship.
FIFA commissioned this report and now it needs to put the recommendations in place. Professor Ruggie has made it clear that the whole package of rights must be respected, without exception, and in every area of FIFA’s operations including but not limited to huge events such as the men’s World Cup.
The Ruggie Report states that "Internationally recognized human rights include rights to life and physical security, non-discrimination, rights to freedom of thought, expression and religion, freedom of assembly and of movement, rights to education and work, to family life and privacy, to food and water, freedoms from torture, slavery or forced labor, as well as rights to fair and decent working conditions, including freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively."
The Report also states that "Where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship."
FIFA and Qatar must act
"This report makes clear that FIFA must act decisively", comments ITUC secretary general Sharan Burrow. Equally Qatar, which fails massively to meet the standards set out in the report, must make a real commitment to comprehensive reform. The system of modern slavery for migrant workers, the absolute denial of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, the poverty wages and the deep discrimination encountered by those who are delivering the huge 2022 infrastructure programme is completely out of step with the requirements that Professor Ruggie has highlighted.
Note: Professor Ruggie is known as the author of the UNGP United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A few years ago CNV published a short manual for trade Union workers on these Ruggie principles
Publication date 05 05 2016