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Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee hosts series of workshops on human rights-related issues

The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee is hosting a series of workshops from November to January on potential human rights-related risks and opportunities associated with hosting the 2026 FIFA World CupTM in Houston.

Houston is bidding to host the 2026 FIFA World CupTM and is competing with 16 other markets in the United States to become a host city. A final decision is expected in late 2021.

FIFA requires all bid cities to consider the human rights challenges and opportunities that may arise from hosting the tournament and requires the host cities to conduct all activities associated with the tournament in accordance with relevant human rights guidelines.

As part of the bid process, all host city candidates must engage stakeholders to better understand the specific human rights issues that may arise from hosting the tournament and to develop preventive measures.

To fulfil this responsibility, the Houston Bid Committee has set up a series of workshops which will include a diverse panel of human rights leaders from the community. The first workshop will be held virtually on Thursday, November 12.

FIFA has identified a list of priorities that will serve as the basis of discussion for the workshops. The priorities are Safety and Security, Worker’s Rights, Migrants, Non-Discrimination, Human Trafficking, Right to Participate in the Conduct of Public Affairs, Houston Rights and Disability Access. The final plans will be published as public information at the conclusion of the process.

“We have an opportunity and responsibility to involve meaningful community members, organizations and potentially affected groups on human rights matters surrounding the hosting of the World Cup,” said Houston Bid Committee President Chris Canetti.

“Human Rights considerations are important to factor into event planning, event delivery, and the event’s legacy. With this in mind, our committee has worked with the community from the outset to prioritize human rights as part of our bid strategy.’’

The Houston Bid Committee spent several months meeting with community stakeholders to develop an overall legacy strategy for our region and, as a part of that, created a human rights sub-committee chaired by Minal Patel Davis, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence.

The strategy is supported by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “We’ve worked hard to design a stakeholder engagement process to ensure we can share a compelling story with FIFA about why Houston will host the most conscientious World Cup in 2026 regarding the human rights risks they’ve identified,’’ Davis said. While several relevant groups have been invited to attend these workshops, anyone interested in participating can email or call 832.393.0977. Requests must be received by noon November 5 to attend the November 12 workshop.

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