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University of Edinburgh’s Liberation Officers release statement condemning EUSA’s decision to show World Cup

The University of Edinburgh’s Liberation Officers have released a statement condemning Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s (EUSA’s) decision to show the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In a statement on Instagram on Thursday 17 November, the University of Edinburgh’s Liberation Campaigns announced that they “condemn the decision” taken by EUSA to show the World Cup.

EUSA announced in a statement from President Niamh Roberts on Wednesday 16 November that they will still screen matches despite backlash over host country Qatar’s human rights abuses.

The Liberation Campaigns continued to say that the organisation and planning of the World Cup has “violated the human rights and living conditions of thousands of people living in the country.”

The Liberation Officers support the Liberation Campaigns – the Black and Minority Ethnic Campaign, the Disabled Students Campaign, the LGBT+ Campaign, the Trans and Non-Binary Campaign and the Women’s Campaign.

The statement continued to say: “We believe that the decision to show these games has been made purely on financial grounds, with no consideration for the implications this move will have on the wellbeing of marginalised communities on campus.”

This is in reference to a section of EUSA’s letter which stated: “During the last World Cup, the Sports Bar generated approximately £25,000; this is £9,000 more than during a standard 3-week period.”

The full statement from the Liberation Officers is below:

“The Liberation Campaigns condemn the decision to show and promote matches from the FIFA World Cup in any venue connected to the University of Edinburgh. The organisation and planning of this event have violated the human rights and living conditions of thousands of people living in the country.

“Specifically, the Qatari Penal Code harshly discriminates against LGBTQ+ rights, and it is our position that supporting the event fails to demonstrate solidarity with queer Qatari people. In the last two months, international organisations have documented cases of public arrests of LGBTQ+ individuals in Qatar based exclusively on their gender expression. Human Rights Watch reported that four transgender women, a bisexual woman, and a gay man had been reportedly imprisoned without charge, legal counsel, or trial. The trans women detained were also forced to attend conversion therapy as a requirement for their release. 

“We believe that the decision to show these games has been made purely on financial grounds, with no consideration for the implications this move will have on the wellbeing of marginalised communities on campus.

“To spread awareness of the human rights violations taking place in Qatar, the Liberation Campaigns, in conjunction with the Sabbatical Officers, will distribute flyers in every venue on campus that decides to show World Cup matches, which will include a list of resources allowing students to learn more about the humanitarian crisis in Qatar and ways to support queer people in the country. There will also be a progress flag hanging in the Teviot Sports Bar at all times during the tournament.

“We want to thank all the student groups that have spoken up on this issue for proving once again that the responsibility to demand social injustice falls upon all of us. Only joint efforts to protect and demand queer rights will prove effective. If you have been affected by these decisions, please reach out to us. We are here to support you. Stay proud.”

The Liberation Campaigns also provided information on how students can “get more informed and involved with creating change.”

Image teviot row house” by Jon Vrushi is licensed under CC BY 2.0.