08 Dec

World Cup 2022 expands discussion on human rights on Twitter

by Agência Tatu

Por Text: Gabriel Ferreira | Editing: Graziela França and Lucas Maia

Updated 20 de December, 2022 at 10:32 am

Women and LGBTQIA+ people are the most opressed by the religious and social rules of the competition’s host country


Qatar came into the global spotlight due to hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 and exposing its rules inhibiting the population’s basic rights. In the past five weeks, the topic “human rights + Qatar” was tweeted more than 43 thousand times in Portuguese alone, associated with terms such as “homophobia”, “transphobia”, “rape”, and “slavery”.


Most mentioned topics in the tweets analyzed


Mentions to “human rights in Qatar” on Twitter in the past five weeks


Agência Tatu collected tweets about the topic in the past five weeks using the Trendsmap tool. There was also data from indices such as the Democracy Index and Freedom House.

According to the Democracy Index, a ranking by Economist Intelligence that classifies the democratic status of countries, Qatar is in 53rd place as the least democratic country out of the 167 coutnies analyzed by the research. The hosts of this year’s World Cup are seen as a country under an authoritarian regime and is in the same category as Russia, Iraq, Cuba, China and Venezuela.

In turn, Freedom House classifies Qatar as “Not Free”. The Qatari population has little civil freedom and few political rights – the country scores 25 on a scale that goes up to 100.

Freedom House is an American non-profit organization and a member of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX). The organization is part of a group of 71 NGOs that promote and advocate the right to freedom of expression, defending the advancement of freedom through research and reports related to democracy and political rights

Debates on Twitter

While the data and research indicate the social conditions in the country, the discussions on Twitter exposed what happens in the country to the whole world.



With more than 57 thousand likes and 6 thousand retweets, the most prominent post on Twitter on the subject was posted by a Brazilian page that listed several human rights violations in Qatar.

One of the issues attracting the most public attention is the country’s government neglect of basic labor rights to migrant workers, resulting in more than 6,500 deaths between 2010 and 2022 in buildings associated with the World Cup; stadiums, hotel chains, the international airport and the subway system.


Like others in the Persian Gulf, Qatar is a Muslim country; consequently, there are social limitations to several minority groups, such as women and LGBTQIA+ people. The country is one of 70 countries where homosexuality is considered a crime, and public displays of affection are not allowed.

Qatar has been notified by Human Rights Watch, an international, non-governmental, not-for-profit human rights organization renowned for its in-depth investigations into human rights violations related to severe harassment and abuse against trans and transvestite people. Actions taken by the Qatari authorities included confiscating victims’ phones for investigation, and they could only be released after attending “sexual regression” appointments.



Demonstratios and FIFA’s stance

Shortly before the start of the Cup, FIFA vetoed Denmark’s training shirt containing the phrase “human rights for all”, claiming it was expressing a political position.



In addition, some local newspapers in Qatar mocked the pro-LGBTQIA+ demonstrations made by the German team before the start of the match against Japan. Consuming or selling alcoholic beverages inside stadiums or in public places also led to repercussions.


The Digital Democracy Room at FGV ECMI is an initiative to monitor and analyze the public debate on the internet. Currently, it has partnerships to help monitor politics on the networks in Brazil and in Latin America. This content was produced by the partner Agência Tatu.