Lib Dems call on First Minister Mark Drakeford to cancel Qatar World Cup trip
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on First Minster Mark Drakeford to cancel his plans to visit Qatar during this year’s World Cup alongside Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Arts and Sports Minister Dawn Bowden.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is still expecting to travel to the World Cup in Qatar despite expectations that the UK Labour Party will snub the tournament.
It is understood the party is not planning to send any kind of delegation to the games, which begins on November 20, and will not be formally represented in Qatar.
Last week, it was reported that Lucy Powell, the party’s shadow culture and sport secretary, received an invitation from the Qatari government but turned it down.
This follows concerns over the treatment of construction workers and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in the country.
On Saturday, the Welsh Government indicated there had been no change in its position since comments made by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to the Welsh Parliament on September 27.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Mark Drakeford and his colleagues must not contribute to the whitewashing of Qatar’s human rights record.
“UK Labour have rightfully set out a very clear line that visiting Qatar in an official capacity during the World Cup would be the wrong thing to do.
“There is a clear and concerted effort by the Qatari Government to try and use this tournament to distract from their notorious human rights record. The Welsh Government did not send delegations to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, it would be equally wrong of them to do so now and unless they plan to raise human rights concerns publicly, they would be contributing to the PR exercise by the regime.
“Throughout the duration of our calls for the Welsh Government to shut its Qatar Office, the Welsh Government has insisted that ‘it believed in engaging with countries that don’t share values on human rights in order to influence change’, yet we have seen no material evidence of the Welsh Government calling for greater human rights in the country.
“Mark Drakeford should urgently cancel his plans to visit Qatar if he really cares about human rights.”
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