Austrian NGOs give FIFA 'red card'
Austrian NGOs and unions have taken the opportunity one day ahead of the FIFA World Cup kick-off in Brazil to renew their criticism of the human rights violations surrounding the sporting event.
On Wednesday, guests and activists from the "Nosso Jogo" initiative ("Our Game" in Portuguese) complained in Vienna about the treatment of workers and civilians ahead of the games.
President of the construction and woodworker union of Rio de Janeiro, Nilson Duarte Costa, reminded listeners that nine people were killed in the construction of the World Cup stadiums. The deaths were mainly due to bad working conditions, he said. "We blame the Brazilian government and FIFA for everything that happened," said Costa.
Leila Regina da Silva from the Institute for Sustainable Development in Belo Horizonte complained about the treatment of people who had been living where the stadiums were built. There were many forced displacements, she said. Current estimates said 250,000 people were forced to leave their homes and businesses, and were not even properly recompensed for their losses, she added.
The head of the Austrian construction and woodworker union, Josef Muchitsch, showed solidarity with his Brazilian counterparts. In a historical comparison, he pointed out that slaves were used in ancient Rome more than 2,000 years ago to entertain visitors in the Coliseum. Now, 2000 years later, workers were forced to go over their physical limits so a football game could be shown on TV on time.
The organisation also pointed out that during the preparations for the next World Cup in 2022 in Qatar, 1200 construction workers had already been killed. FIFA should commemorate the dead workers at the opening ceremony tomorrow, said Nosso Jogo.