As the Russian resort town of Sochi prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Human Rights Watch has released a damming report on the routine abuse of tens of thousands of migrant workers toiling on construction projects.
In the drive to build, labourers from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have complained that Russian contractors are cheating them and withholding wages.
Yulya Gorbunova is from Human Rights Watch:
“What we found in the course of our research was that Russian authorities and companies involved in preparations for the Sochi Olympics, in many cases have violated the rights of workers.”
Human Rights Watch want the IOC to stand by one of its maxims, to celebrate human dignity and demand the Russian authorities end the abuses.
The Mayor of Sochi is Anatoly Pakhomov:
“I will tell you there were two complaints to the mayor’s office during all this time. Therefore, to me this mass abuse of labour law that you mention, the mass abuse is unknown to me.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Sochi as prestige project for his country that will allow him to showcase Russia’s ability to host global events.