Human rights activists criticized David Beckham on Thursday for starring in a flashy promotional campaign hailing the World Cup host nation of Qatar as “ideal” despite reservations about its human rights record. In a series of films on Qatar Tourism’s website, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England player can be heard saying, “This is perfection for me!” while visiting a desert camp and sampling local cuisine and art. Felix Jakens, head of priority campaigns at Amnesty International UK, referred to the advertisements as simply the latest sleek and positive video promoting Qatar that David Beckham has given his face to.
Beckham was criticized by the London-based rights organization for “making no mention of the country’s dismal human rights record.”
According to Beckham’s statement in the advertisement video, the Arab nation “truly is a great spot to spend a few days on a stopover.” Beckham reportedly agreed to a deal last year to promote the gas-rich Gulf state, which is the 2018 World Cup’s host nation, for £150 million ($172 million). He received the position of cultural ambassador.
Jakens urged Beckham to utilize his “special profile” to draw attention to the “awful injustices” that tens of thousands of migrant workers had experienced while doing their duties on World Cup construction sites worth billions of dollars. Amnesty urged earlier this year that FIFA, the organization that oversees world football, establish a $440 million fund for “abused” workers in Qatar.
The Arab nation has been accused of underreporting worker fatalities and injuries, as well as grievances over underpaid salaries. Regarding its adherence to the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, there are additional concerns. Since it was given the World Cup in 2010, the tiny state with fundamentalist Muslim officials has been in the limelight on human rights issues.
Before the opening kick of the 32-nation tournament on November 20th, critics claim that more pressure must be placed on FIFA and Qatar due to the country’s uneven progress over the previous ten years. Qatar disputes the number of migrant worker fatalities cited by some international media and asserts that since being chosen to host the World Cup, it has made several changes to its workplace laws.