WATCH: Hearts' Cammy Devlin and Kye Rowles in historic video against human rights issues ahead of World Cup 2022
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The Tynecastle Park team-mates took part in a historic video with Australia international colleagues which has been shared around the world. In it, a number of Socceroos players highlight the suffering of migrant workers and problems with the LGBTQI+ community in the Arabian State.
Australia qualified for the World Cup via an intercontinental play-off win over Peru on penalties. They are due to play their first Group D match against France at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah on November 22. Devlin and Rowles are expected to be included in coach Graham Arnold’s final squad, fitness permitting.
They both speak during the video, which was posted on Twitter and other social media platforms, to convey the Australian’s feelings on reports about the treatment of women, immigrants and the LGBTI+ community in Qatar. The footage lasts three minutes 11 seconds and was deliberately released ahead of the World Cup, which is costing €6.84billion.
The energy-rich country in the Middle East has been widely criticised on human rights matters for years. The NGO Human Rights Watch claimed on Monday that Qatar Preventive Security Department forces arbitrarily arrested lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and subjected them to ill-treatment in detention
Human Rights Watch said they documented six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022.
“While Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBT people simply for who they are, apparently confident that the security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked,” said Rasha Younes, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Qatari authorities need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching.”
However, Qatar's ruler has spoken out against the allegations and defended his nation’s reputation. He declared on Tuesday that criticism over his country's hosting of the World Cup was nothing more than “slander”.
“Since we had the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been the target of an unprecedented campaign that no other host country has suffered,” said Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, leader of the tiny Gulf state.