Ciné-ONU: The Workers Cup

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24 January 2018 - On 23 January, Ciné-ONU screened ‘The Workers Cup’ in order to highlight SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth. The film follows the story of migrant workers in Qatar who are building the infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup and was shown in partnership with ILO Brussels (International Labour Organisation) at Cinéma Galeries in Brussels.

Outside Cinéma Galeries before the screening | ©UNRIC

The screening was followed by a conversation on the issues highlighted in the film. The guest speakers included: Rosie Garthwaite (Producer of ‘The Workers Cup’); Bert Ballegeer (Co-ordinator of the Belgian Homeless Cup) and Claire Courteille (Director of the International Labour Organisation in Brussels).

The discussion focused on the lives of the characters within the documentary.  Ms. Garthwaite highlighted that they wanted, ‘to make a film that represented the workers fairly’. This was key as the filmmakers, ‘wanted to speak only to the emotional truth, through the eyes of the workers’, a point which made their individual stories all the more engaging.

Rosie Garthwaite, producer for 'The Workers Cup', addresses the audience | ©UNRIC

However, it was clear that the conditions in which the migrant workers live and work could be improved.  Ms. Garthwaite stated that unfortunately, ‘lots of deaths are recategorised to save the reputation of the country’. 

When asked about what was being done to tackle problems such as these, Ms. Courteille noted that the ‘ILO and the Qatari Government have signed a three-year technical agreement to tackle problems such as lack of wage payment, prevention of forced labour, fair recruitment and proper accommodation’, showing that progress is being made. She went on to highlight that the “kafala system” concerned not only construction workers but domestic and hospitality workers also, with the ILO working on ‘the wider problems of forced labour across the board’.

Claire Courteille of the ILO answers audience questions | ©UNRIC

Mr. Ballegeer spoke of his experience of negative stereotyping within his work with the Belgian Homeless Cup. He said that ‘there is a stereotype of homeless people but we want to give them a positive image of courage and power’, a point made in the film as it strives to show the courage of the workers.

Bert Ballegeer from Belgian Homeless Cup | ©UNRIC

Ms. Garthwaite concluded by saying, ‘we were very lucky, they (the workers of team GCC) chose us… they were the ones that allowed us into their lives’, a point the audience agreed with whole-heartedly.

Check out our photos in our Flickr album

See our handout from our event here

For more information about the film click here

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