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Russia ensuring rights of workers at FIFA World Cup construction sites

May 26, 2017, 3:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland filed an appeal with FIFA over alleged violations of the rights of guest workers from the DPRK working at the World Cup construction sites

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Stadium under construction in Volgograd

Stadium under construction in Volgograd

© Dmitry Rogulin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Operating conditions for builders at the sites of facilities built for the FIFA World Cup 2018 are regulated strictly by Russian labor and immigration laws and the Russian agencies in charge of these issues exercise full control over the situation, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

She said it in a comment on the situation in the wake of an appeal the football federations of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland had filed with FIFA in connection with alleged violations of the rights of guest workers from the DPRK working at the World Cup construction sites.

"As for the terms of employment and stay of North Korean workers, who were mentioned in the documents forwarded to various international organizations - and ones that got so agitated about human rights - these issues fall into the realm of Russian labor and immigration laws," Zakharova said. "The relevant governmental agencies exercise strict control over the issues of migration and that’s why there competent people to watch of the observance of guest workers’ rights in Russia."

She urged Western activists "to turn their eyes to other well-known countries where the operating conditions for immigrant workers really leave much to be desired."

"Regrettably, this this fervent attention towards rights is highly selective and it has turned into an instrument of political contentions," Zakharova said.

She assessed the comments the media and politicians had made on Russia’s preparations for the World Cup as highly biased.

"I treat with much respect the work of civic society representatives and organizations dealing with human rights and I’m against the situations where these organizations and the very issue of human rights are used for different purposes, as instruments of political pressure and blackmail or, like in this case, as the instruments of a propaganda campaign," Zakharova said.

Somewhat earlier, the heads of football federations of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in connection with concerns over the job conditions for North Korean workers at the construction site of Zenit-Arena stadium in St Petersburg.

The appeal contained a request to hold an inquiry into the reports on ostensible violations. FIFA sais in a reply that an inspection team, which visited the construction site in March, did not find the evidence of North Korean guest workers’ presence there.

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