Sport and human rights should be considered together from now on. This is a much-discussed topic, especially against the background of the soccer World Cup in Qatar. It’s good that Nancy Faeser is going there on Monday.

When the Minister of the Interior for Sport, Nancy Faeser (SPD), flies to Qatar on Monday, she will have a lot to talk about. Because she herself made a promise with the coalition partners that sport and human rights should be considered together from now on – something that has long been neglected in relation to the World Cup in Qatar, especially by the Qatari government and FIFA , the main perpetrators of human rights abuses in Qatar.

In the coalition agreement, the federal government promised to strictly link the allocation and organization of major international sporting events to compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Sustainability.

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This is not being talked about in a nebulous future, but should already be used at the Special Olympics next year in Berlin and at the 2024 European Football Championship for men. Future applications for major sporting events from Germany, such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, should also be based on these principles from now on.

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf is coming with us on the trip to Qatar, and he has also promised to take a closer look at things at home from now on: The football association issued a “human rights policy” last year – late, but at least.

He has thus voluntarily committed himself to ensuring that there will be no negative human rights impacts, for example when organizing the EM 2024. According to its own statement, it is now “the DFB’s claim to avoid causing negative effects on human rights or to contribute to their occurrence through its own actions”.

What does that mean specifically? For example, the DFB has committed itself to taking active action against discrimination and racism – whether in the stadium or in its own organization, even with third parties who work for it.

Compliance with and promotion of the highest international standards in terms of working conditions is also a declared goal of the DFB – both for its own employees and for third parties commissioned by it.

But first the DFB has a lot to discuss in Qatar. We welcome the fact that the Football Association has now publicly supported calls by Amnesty International and others for a compensation mechanism and a center for migrant workers.

Should he – as planned – meet with FIFA boss Giovanni Infantino and representatives of the Qatar government, he, as the largest football association, must work to ensure that they finally implement the demands of human rights organizations and those affected. This step is long overdue.

It is a good sign that Bernd Reisig from the initiative “Love knows no break – against homophobia in Qatar” was also invited to come to Qatar. Because homosexuality is still a punishable offense in Qatar. It can result in several years in prison, even punished with whips.

Just a week ago, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch stated in a report that Qatari security forces had arbitrarily arrested lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTI) people and mistreated them in detention.

The LGBTI people interviewed reported that their abuse took place in September of this year, at a time when international public attention had long been focused on Qatar.

This raises serious questions about how LGBTI people will be treated when the 2022 World Cup is over and global attention will noticeably dwindle.

Amnesty International in the UK this week commented on reports that British human rights activist Peter Tatchell was prevented from holding a peaceful protest in Qatar against the criminalization of LGBTI people.

Sacha Deshmukh, Secretary-General of Amnesty International in the UK said: “The attempt to muzzle Peter Tatchell simply for calling attention to the outrageous criminalization of LGBTI people in Qatar is a clear indication of the repressive climate prevailing in matters Freedom of expression prevails in Qatar, including for those who support the rights of LGBTI people.”

The CEO of the 2022 World Cup, Nasser Al Khater, recently stated that Qatar would guarantee the safety of LGBTI fans during the tournament.

However, the fact that the Qatari authorities were forced to issue such ‘assurances’ just weeks before kick-off shows, in our view, just how uneasy the issue still is.

With just weeks to go before kick-off, it is clear that the Qatari authorities will miss an opportunity to make the scrapping of laws and regulations that discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression an important part of their World Cup legacy .

It’s clear that gay and lesbian fans are concerned about these reports. The need for all fans to install the Qatari tracking app Etheraz, as reported in the media this week, only adds to this concern.

As early as 2020, Amnesty International found that the app, which was launched during the pandemic, also records and uploads Bluetooth contacts between users’ devices in addition to GPS coordinates.

Even then, we judged the app to be problematic in terms of human rights in terms of arbitrary surveillance and violations of privacy and data protection. The main problem with regard to the right to privacy is that this app is mandatory – even for Qataris.

Nancy Faeser’s trip to Qatar comes at a good time – there are many issues to be discussed with the Qatari government ahead of the World Cup.

At the same time, three weeks before the ball rolls, it is important to focus on the “after” and on Germany’s own responsibility in terms of football and human rights. Both the federal government and the DFB will then have to be measured against the goals they have formulated themselves.

Katja Müller-Fahlbusch is the senior Middle East and North Africa expert at Amnesty International in Germany. Ellen Wesemüller is spokeswoman for Amnesty International in Germany.