The human rights commissioner of the German government, Luise Amtsberg, will not join Interior Minister Nancy Faeser on a trip to FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar on Monday.
Amtsberg said in a foreign ministry statement on Sunday her decision came after Qatar sharply protested against critical remarks from Faeser.
The Middle East country’s government went on to hand the German ambassador a note of protest on Friday.
“The developments this weekend have made it clear to me how difficult it is in the current situation in the run-up to the football World Cup to hold the open and critical talks I planned about the human rights situation in Qatar with the Qatari government,” Amtsberg said.
“Recognising Qatar’s growing role as a regional and global player, international pressure and our efforts to protect human rights remain central after the World Cup,” she said, adding she planned a visit to Qatar at a later date.
Qatar has been criticised over the treatment of migrant workers in the country, the criminalisation of homosexuality, and sustainability in the run-up to the Nov. 20 to Dec. 18 World Cup.
Qatar has said it has carried out labour law reforms and that everyone is welcome to attend the tournament.
Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Than, hit out at the critics recently, speaking of an “unprecedented campaign” against a host nation, fabricated allegations and double standard.
Faeser will visit Qatar together with German Football Federation chief Bernd Neuendorf on Monday and Tuesday with talks to centre on human rights.
Faeser angered Qatar when she said Qatar being elected World Cup hosts was “a totally difficult award” for the German government.
She said the German government believes that human rights and sustainability should be important awarding criteria.
“There are criteria that have to be adhered to, and then it would be better that it (the tournament) wasn’t awarded to such states,” Faeser had added.
Qatar said on Friday it was “disappointed” and “totally rejects” the minister’s remarks which were “against diplomatic norms and convention”.(dpa/NAN)