Plaid Cymru leader calls on Mark Drakeford to reconsider Qatar World Cup trip
The Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS, has called on the First Minister to reconsider his intention to attend the World Cup in Qatar.
The call came in Questions to the First Minister in the Senedd today following a report this morning that the Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador, Khalid Salman, described homosexuality as “damage in the mind”, which has been condemned by the Human Rights Watch as “unacceptable.”
In addition, the Football Association of Wales is reported to be in discussion with the Qatar Government about creating safe houses for LGBTQ+ people.
Welsh Labour are sending a delegation to the Qatar World Cup including First Minster Mark Drakeford, Minister for the Economy Vaughn Gething and Culture and Sport Minister Dawn Bowden despite UK Labour Leader Kier Starmer calling for Labour to boycott the tournament.
But speaking in a personal capacity, Mr Price has said it would “send the wrong message” for the head of the Welsh Government to attend in person, “especially given there can be no guarantee that LGBTQ+ people will not be subject to discrimination and even imprisonment.”
“As a gay man, who could not travel safely to Qatar to support our team in the World Cup, I feel – as I’m sure many in the LGBTQ+ community do – that it sends the wrong message for the head of our National Government to attend in person,” he said.
“While I’m delighted that so many people will be able to support the great achievement of our national team – and I couldn’t be prouder of Cymru – this freedom is not available to everyone.
“The Qatari government have been unable to guarantee that LGBTQ+ people will not be subjected to discrimination or imprisonment whilst in their country. The comments today by the Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador are hateful and entirely unacceptable.
“Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government together are proudly committed to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe. I implore the First Minister to honour that commitment and stand in global solidarity with LGBTQ+ people everywhere by reconsidering his decision to attend the World Cup in Qatar.”
The First Minister Mark Drakeford was not present at First Minister’s Questions today due to being self-isolating with Covid.
But Lesley Griffiths who was standing in for him said: “So, I can’t answer the question as to whether the First Minister will be reconsidering his attendance because, obviously, I’m unable to speak to him—he’s unwell—but I’m sure his office will have heard your questions.
“So, I don’t really feel I can answer that.”
Earlier the Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticized the other three parties in the Senedd for being weak on human rights by supporting the Welsh Government delegation to the World Cup in Qatar.
Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said that it indicated “an appalling disregard for human rights by Welsh Labour, the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru”.
“Andrew RT Davies’ comments today in the Senedd where he endorsed not only the Welsh Government going to Qatar, but also to Iran come despite some of his own members including Laura Anne Jones MS and Natasha Asghar MS having attended a protest in solidarity with Iranian protests recently,” she said.
“Likewise Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones’ comments that us raising human rights concerns was ‘spoiling the moment’ shows what little disregard Plaid Cymru show towards the issue. Human rights must be spoken up for no matter how inconvenient it may be at the time.
“Then we have Welsh Labour – a party founded on workers’ rights who seem happy to ignore the fact thousands of migrant workers have died in Qatar including in the construction of the World Cup stadiums in order to seek out investment.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are clear, we will always stand up for human rights no matter how inconvenient that is and the fact that we are the only party in the Senedd willing to do this only goes to show why having Liberal voices in the Senedd is necessary.
“Mark Drakeford and Welsh Labour should immediately cancel their trip. Unless the Ministers have been promoted to the team itself, their presence will make no difference to how Team Wales do at the tournament.”
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