During the security conference in Munich, Foreign Minister Anken Hoitfeldt (AP) met with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
According to the summary of the meeting, which was published by the State of Qatar on its website, the meeting should have been about discussing ways to continue cooperation between the two countries in order to increase stability in Somalia, Palestine and Afghanistan.
Qatar also wrote that the Norwegian foreign minister should have congratulated Qatar on the success of the World Cup.
TV2 has been in touch with the Foreign Ministry, which confirms that Huitfeldt congratulated the host country on the tournament, which was held in November and December 2022.
– Can you call it success?
There are many people who react to the fact that Huitfeldt should have congratulated and called him a success.
How can heroism be called a success, asks Frank Conde Tangberg at Amnesty.
Amnesty International has done a lot to publicize what happened in Qatar, both before and after the tournament in November 2022.
Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup was highly controversial. Then they didn’t have anything in order and had to build everything. This has cost more than hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, who have been victims of systematic human rights abuses and little has been compensated for the crimes they have suffered.
– They have been exploited in the most brutal way, with restrictions on freedom of movement, miserable living conditions, and they have no right to organize themselves. Many worked in unsafe working conditions and a known number lost their lives.
The Hurdal Program states that the government should emphasize workers’ rights in its international work with human rights. It should be more here, Condi Tangberg says.
The NFF with Lise Klaveness has been upfront about the tournament and has seen pressure on FIFA to offer compensation to migrant workers. Conde Tangberg cannot say that Huitfeldt and the government have put as much pressure on Qatar as previously promised.
– We are shocked that the Labor Party in government has not been more progressive. There is no point in hiding behind the fact that you have a few meeting places. We often notice that the government is silent about the meetings it holds with Qatar, and we often know on the home page of the State of Qatar that they have held meetings, he said.
Norway should be aggressive towards migrant workers. There, ironically enough, the Head of Football made a huge effort, which also led to Claveness’s suggestion that FIFA should investigate whether FIFA had complied with its human rights obligations, gained traction or not.
Was it supposed to be the general folk custom when Huitfeldt gave congratulations?
– It is possible that this is a national custom and it is normal to congratulate. But they are forced to apply maximum pressure when it comes to human rights that have been violated. In diplomacy, one uses one’s words carefully, and must go both ways, he says.
Green Party Deputy Leader (MDG) Ingrid Leland also responds to Huitfeldt’s appointment.
– I think it is an unfortunate sign that a Norwegian foreign minister congratulates Qatar. We must be a hero not to accept human rights abuses. This not only sends an unfortunate signal to Qatar, but to future host nations, Liland tells TV 2.
Huitveldt has previously been criticized by Amnesty International for its lack of documentation regarding the situation with Qatar, and the Millennium Development Goals have previously asked several questions about what Norway is doing to put pressure on the country.
Half a year ago, we asked questions about what the government is doing to put pressure on Qatar. Then we got an answer from Huitfeldt that they should use diplomatic channels to apply pressure. Now we wonder what was done?
Leland says they have not heard of the extent of pressure they have put on Qatar and fear the focus on human rights abuses has been forgotten.
– It is important that the pressure does not go away even if the tournament is over, she says.
In dialogue with Qatar
TV 2 put a number of questions to the Foreign Ministry and received a joint answer from Foreign Minister Erling Remestad.
TV 2 asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following questions:
- What do you think of congratulating Qatar on the success of the water cycle?
- Can WC 2022 be considered a success?
- “Norway will therefore continue to exploit all the opportunities we have, both directly with the Qatari authorities and at the multilateral level through organizations such as the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, to influence and exert pressure, so that the human rights situation in Qatar can be improved,” Huitfeldt wrote. This is in response to the Millennium Development Goals in December 2022.
What was done to put pressure on the Qatari authorities?
- Is being congratulated on a successful toilet stressful?
- Was something else said in the meeting that Qatar did not write about on its pages?
- Amnesty says they have previously said there are too few meeting venues with Qatar to address this. Is this correct?
- The Millennium Development Goals Organization believes that congratulations send a sorry message. What do you think that?
– Norway is holding a dialogue with Qatar on human rights. We have on several occasions clearly expressed our views on the situation of migrant workers in Qatar. Meeting during the Munich Security Conference in February, the foreign minister also raised Norway’s continued expectation that Qatar promotes the rights of migrant workers, Rimstad wrote for TV 2.
He stressed that they will continue to put pressure on Qatar.
– Norway will continue to use the opportunities available to us, whether directly with the Qatari authorities or at a multilateral level in the United Nations, to raise important issues, in order to contribute to improving the situation around human rights in Qatar, he writes.
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