16 | OCT | 2019
Mexico’s bid for the FIFA World Cup is called into question
Decio de María, chairman of the Mexican Football Federation - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico’s bid for the FIFA World Cup is called into question

Inder Bugarin / Corresponsal
Mexico City
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Mexico's high levels of insecurity and sexual violence against women have raised concerns in the FIFA committee. It might jeopardize North America's bid for the World Cup in 2026

Brussels.- The possibility for Mexico, the United States, and Canada to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026 poses several risks regarding security and protection of individual rights in the host countries, according to recent studies by the British firm Ergon.
“On an event such as this, with so many eyes set on the host countries, it’s easy to ignore the human rights implications for those attending, as well as the players, team members, and officials. However, the possible impact on human rights is significant,” the organization warned.

The report analyzes human rights in the context of the eventual celebration of the World Cup in these three countries and it serves as an addition to the documents delivered to FIFA on March for the bidding assessment. The institution established certain prerequisites which include the addition of an independent inquiry that takes into account the possibility of an adverse impact on human rights and the eventual legacy of the event in this regard.

Ergon is a company based in London and it was created in 2005, it specializes in business, human rights, and labor rights. Some of its customers are the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, and Apple.

The document states that many of the risks that have been assessed “stem from deficiencies in the implementation of the law, and certain contextual and local factors.”

In particular, with regard to Mexico, the integrity of journalists and human rights activists has been a cause for concern. There have been reports of “significant displays of verbal, physical, and violent threats, including murder, against these professions. This risk will only become amplified in the context of a FIFA World Cup.”

Sexual harassment against women has also raised concerns: “A UN survey has shown that most women living in Mexico City have experienced some kind of sexual violence (including verbal harassment and unsolicited physical contact), in their daily life, which is obviously an issue for female attendants, workers, and fans.”

The document points to the lack of a prompt and expedited justice administration, as well as a lack of resources to deal with complaints and reports of abuse and police misconduct.

As for the drug-related violence, the document states that “although it is more frequent” outside of the three cities that are likely to host the World Cup, it recommends caution regarding the developments and potential impact of the games with regard to public safety.

Some of the recommendations issued by the institution include a closer cooperation between host cities and local parties, both national and international, in order to take action on this matter. The protection of human rights should be a top priority and not a long-term objective for the Mexican government.


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