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Artists divided over Qatar World Cup opportunities

Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have snubbed performing in Qatar due to the country's human rights record, while other acts sign on the dotted line...

By IQ on 14 Nov 2022

Dua Lipa at Futures Forum 2019

Dua Lipa has taken a stand against Qatar's human rights record

image © Christian Bertrand

Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart have spoken out against performing at the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the country’s human rights record.

Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and criminalisation of same-sex relationships has come under increased scrutiny in the run-up to the football tournament, which begins this weekend.

And with a growing number of artists confirmed to be performing in the country during the World Cup, Lipa took to Instagram to deny reports she had signed up to play the opening ceremony.

“There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar,” she said. “I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform.

“I will be cheering England on from afar and I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup.”

Stewart, meanwhile, revealed he turned down more than $1 million (€968,000) to perform in Qatar last year.

“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart told The Sunday Times. “I turned it down. It’s not right to go.”

It was confirmed last week that BTS member Jungkook will perform at the opening ceremony, taking place next Sunday (20 November) at the Al Bayt stadium, and contribute to the tournament’s official soundtrack. Diplo, Calvin Harris and Sean Paul will also be performing at the Fifa Fan Festival, which will run over the 29 days of the international football showpiece.

“I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made”

Meanwhile, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Hardwell, Rae Sremmurd, Tinie, Jorja Smith and Tyga are among the international stars due to perform at MDLBeast’s Aravia concert series on the purpose-built Al Rihla stage in Doha.

LGBTIQ+ people and women continue to face discrimination in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by fines, prison sentences of up to seven years and even the possibility of the death penalty.

There are also significant concerns over rights for migrant workers, with a 2021 Guardian report finding that more than 6,000 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, women are subject to a system where they remained tied to their male guardian – usually their father, brother, grandfather or uncle – or for married women, to their husband.

According to Amnesty International, they need their guardian’s permission for key life decisions to marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad until certain ages, and receive some forms of reproductive healthcare.

In addition, family laws continue to discriminate against women by making it difficult for them to divorce and divorced women remain unable to act as their children’s guardian.


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