Qatar World Cup organizers dispute Denmark kit manufacturer’s claims of human rights violations
By Alex McAndrew
15 April 2018
In the wake of the Danish crown prince’s criticism of Qatar’s human rights record and the boycott of the country by Qatar-based media, one of the World Cup qualifying nations, Denmark, has begun selling and supplying a number of sporting goods to the Gulf state.
The sale of these goods has been criticized by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Danish human rights defender organization, Fædrelandsvennen, which have denounced the sale of so-called “humanitarian” and “medical” gear, made from “animal skins,” as “blood diamonds.”
The Danish government, led by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, has insisted that the sale of these items is legal and has also sought to justify the equipment as being necessary in a humanitarian effort to help children in the tiny Gulf state.
Following is a statement issued Feb. 29 by Denmark’s Foreign Minister, Margrethe Vestager, following Prime Minister Frederiksen’s call for a boycott of Qatar.
“We call on Qatar to change its policy. We also call on Qatar to engage in a diplomatic dialogue with other states with which it has friendly ties, if it wants to avoid an escalation of the situation.”
“Denmark will do its best to support the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis,’’ the statement continued: “We are also working actively to address humanitarian problems.”
The foreign minister declared that “Israel continues to be an important issue for Denmark,” and that Israel is not “in any way a competitor or threat to Denmark.”
But then, the statement turned to the supposed human rights violations in Qatar.
“We are concerned about the conditions in which the migrant children are held. We think that the sale of humanitarian goods may exacerbate these problems.”
Denmark, like other countries in the “western world,” has been involved in the war against Qatar, launched in June 2017, ostensibly to