The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Thursday night the death of a still unidentified male Filipino national while working at a resort in Mesaieed, Qatar.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the authorities of Qatar and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) over their “callous” response about the death of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) during the ongoing World Cup.
The DFA said an investigation is underway and the Philippine Embassy in Doha is coordinating with legal authorities regarding the facts of the case.
“They will remain in contact with the next of kin of the deceased as they work for the earliest repatriation of his remains,” DFA Deputy Assistant Secretary Gonar Musor told reporters in a text message. “Out of respect to the family, we are not providing more details at this time.”
Meanwhile, the government, through the embassy, sent its thoughts and prayers to the family.
Local reports said the man died while doing repairs at the resort reportedly being used as a training base for the Saudi Arabia national team during the World Cup.
Online sports publication The Athletic reported that the victim slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell headfirst against the concrete.
“The tragic death of a Filipino migrant worker, Alex, his surname unknown, at a World Cup site in Qatar should have been treated humanely,” the HRW said in a statement.
“But FIFA and Qatari authorities responded callously to media questions about his death, returning the spotlight to their disregard for the deaths of thousands of migrant workers in the years leading up to the tournament,” it added, citing instances where Qatar World Cup chief executive Nasser al-Khater and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura allegedly made callous remarks.
The HRW also called out the Qatari Supreme Committee for its supposed quick denial that the Filipino worker’s death was under its jurisdiction even though at the time of the accident the worker was repairing FIFA infrastructure.
“This shameful government attitude towards migrant worker deaths is reflected in the authorities’ failure to investigate the thousands of migrant worker deaths since 2010. It also ignores that many of these deaths were preventable,” HRW said.
World Cup host Qatar earlier said it is already investigating the death of the OFW.
The death of the man, in his 40s was first reported on Wednesday by The Athletic sports website. It said the man fell off a ramp while repairing lights at a resort used as a training base by Saudi Arabia’s national football team.
According to the report, the Filipino worker had not been wearing a harness. It did not specify the date of the accident.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs told AFP that its embassy in Doha was looking into the case, without providing additional details.
World football’s governing body FIFA said it was “deeply saddened by this tragedy.”