Measures to ensure the safety of LGBTQ + people in Qatar remain inadequate with less than eight months to go to the World Cup, community support groups said.
Same-sex relationships are directly criminalized under Gulf state laws, leading to concerns for the well-being of LGBTQ + people visiting the country for the tournament and those of the community residing there.
An international group of 16 organizations focused on LGBTQ + rights has issued eight action points to the organizers of the FIFA tournament and the local organizing committee.
These include the repeal of laws targeting LGBTQ + people, the provision of explicit security guarantees to community members, the guaranteed right of entry to Qatar, the communication of a clear reception and the right to freedom of expression and the absence of censorship or prohibition of discussion of LGBTQ + issues.
The group said in a letter sent to the PA news agency that Fifa had replied in writing but that the Supreme Committee of Qatar, in charge of delivering the World Cup, had not yet done so.
“Progress has been slow, assurances about the safety of LGBTIQ + people and the mechanisms in place to ensure safety have not been adequate,” the letter reads. “If recognition of the problems facing LGBTIQ + people in Qatar and reassurance of safety cannot be offered, we will be forced to ask ourselves whether the risk for LGBTIQ + people who want to participate or work at the World Cup in Qatar is too high.
“Further meetings are planned with both FIFA and the Supreme Committee in the coming weeks, where it is hoped that progress can be made”.
The letter added that failure to take action ahead of the tournament could be seen as passing the laws as they stand and making life for LGBTQ + visitors and residents even harder in the future.
The groups that co-signed the letter were Athlete Ally, Discover Football, European Gay and Lesbian Sports Association, Fare network, Federation of Gay Games, Football v Homophobia, Hidayah, International Supporters Council, ILGA World, ILGA Asia, Leap Sports, Pride House International, MantiQitna, Mosaic, Queer Khaleeji and You Can Play.
Nassar al-Khater, managing director of the Qatar World Cup, previously said: “I would like to assure any fan, of any gender, [sexual] orientation, religion, race to be sure that Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world and everyone will be welcome here “.
He then spoke of “a lot of training for security personnel” and said: “Public displays of affection are not frowned upon, they are not part of our culture, but this applies to everyone.”