In the interview Minister Bruton cited the building of the World Cup stadiums as an example of ‘progress and growth’. Workers building the World Cup stadiums in Qatar are facing shocking conditions. Amnesty International has published evidence showing that as many as 4,000 workers will die building the stadiums. Workers are employed under a brutal work regime, with long hours, dangerous conditions and low pay.
Minister Bruton stated that it is an ‘exciting time’ and an ‘exciting marketplace’ in Qatar, does Minister Bruton think that the migrant workers in Qatar that are facing slave like conditions would also find it an ‘exciting time’?
Minister Bruton’s ignorant comments on Qatar stadiums shows he regards dead migrant workers as ‘non people’. If it was Irish workers facing these conditions and dropping dead there would be rightly an uproar.
Minister Bruton disgracefully defends the government’s silence on gross human rights abuses by saying that trade is not linked with human rights and that the mission is solely concerned with dealing with companies. But who are these companies? They are the very same companies that engaged in this modern slave driving.
Minister Bruton continually stated that this mission was not the appropriate forum to raise human rights issues. However this position of separating trade from human rights is contrary to the EU’s legal commitment to Policy Coherence for Development. This approach is in effect putting Ireland’s trade policy firmly in the camp the fundamentalist free trade hawks.