Danish politicians have donned necklaces featuring 6,500 miniature skulls to raise awareness of Qatar’s migrant worker death toll in the decade-long lead-up to the World Cup.
Government data analysis by the Guardian last year showed that over 6,500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died since Qatar won the right to the sporting event in 2011.
The “#Qatar6500” art event was devised by sculptor Jens Galschiøt, most famous for his Tiananmen crackdown Pillar of Shame, which the University of Hong Kong removed from its campus a year ago.
“The MPs are sending a strong signal. Their criticism of the creation of the World Cup in Qatar will resonate internationally and not least in Qatar,” Galschiøt said in a press release. “I suggest all national soccer teams to have a picture taken wearing the skull necklace.”
Galschiøt said he hoped a high-profile person would come forward to wear the necklace in Qatar.
Thirty members of Denmark’s parliament – including ex-ministers – took part.
The unique artwork was inspired by ancient Tibetan traditions that used human craniums in jewellery. Each handmade skull measures around 6 x 5 millimetres.
Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for delivery and legacy, said last month that only 400-500 migrant workers died on World Cup-related projects. The government data compiled by the Guardian covers all migrant worker deaths over a decade.
The controversial World Cup ends on December 18.
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