Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: supplied/Wiki
The director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen [above, left] has responded to reports that David Beckham is to become the face of anti-gay Qatar, saying he must be prepared to "speak out" about human rights abuses in the country.
According to the Mail On Sunday, the football icon's £10m deal will also see him promote the Qatar-hosted 2022 World Cup.
Sodomy is punishable by up to three years in prison in Qatar, while native Muslims caught 'leading, instigating or seducing a male anyhow for sodomy or dissipation' can be punished by death under Sharia law.
"The clock is ticking"
Responding to Attitude's request for comment, Allen today commented: “David Beckham’s business deals are obviously a matter for him, but we would urge him to fully familiarise himself with the disturbing human rights situation in Qatar and be prepared to speak out about it.
“Qatar’s human rights record is troubling - from the country’s longstanding mistreatment of migrant workers, to its curbs on free speech and its criminalisation of same-sex relations.
“Qatar’s mistreatment of migrant workers - the people whose hard work is making the World Cup possible for this small Gulf country - is especially concerning.
“After ten years of Qatar’s labour abuses being in the international spotlight there have been welcome reforms, but migrant workers are still being left unpaid and some domestic workers are working 16-hour days with no days off.
“More needs to be done for this World Cup to leave a positive legacy and transform the human rights situation in Qatar, but the clock is ticking.
“We’ve long said that FIFA has an important role to play in helping drive this change - especially in raising labour abuses associated with World Cup preparations - but David Beckham is also in a good position to use his international profile to keep Qatari human rights issues in the public eye.”
A representative for Beckham declined to comment when contacted by Attitude yesterday.