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Zaha donates libel case settlement money to workers’ rights charity

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Zaha Hadid has donated the settlement cash from her lawsuit against the New York Review of Books to an unnamed labour rights organization

The undisclosed sum of money was agreed following ‘extensive settlement negotiations’ with the New York Review of Books and the architecture critic Martin Filler which concluded this month.

Hadid launched a defamation claim against the magazine and the author last summer after Filler falsely claimed 1,000 workers had died building the architect’s Al Wakrah Stadium.

No workers had lost thier lives on the project for the 2022 world cup in Qatar which had yet to start on site at the time of publication.

Filler apologised for the claims – made in a review of Rowan Moore’s Why We Build book – shortly after the legal challenge was launched.

Explaining the court action in an interview with the AJ in September, Hadid said: ‘The suit was really to correct a mistake. I wasn’t suing the guy because he said some horrible thing, it’s because he made a mistake.’

In a joint statement issued last week (22 January) both parties agreed to draw a line under the matter.

According to the statement: ‘Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which remain confidential, Ms. Hadid has accepted the apology of the New York Review of Books and Mr. Filler, and is pleased to announce, in conjunction with the settlement, the donation of an undisclosed sum of money to a charitable organization that protects and champions [labour] rights.’

In 2013 the International Trade Union Confederation predicted around 4,000 migrant workers could die during construction of 2022 World Cup venues.

Last year around one Nepalese worker died every two days building infrastructure for the event – according to an investigation by The Guardian.

Responding to questions about working conditions in Qatar, Hadid said during the September interview: ‘Architects don’t have this power [to change working conditions] but maybe they could if they are all on it together to form some sort of an alliance to help these people.’

The joint statement in full

On January 22, 2015, following extensive settlement negotiations, Ms. Zaha Hadid withdrew her lawsuit against the New York Review of Books and Mr. Martin Filler. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which remain confidential, Ms. Hadid has accepted the apology of the New York Review of Books and Mr. Filler, and is pleased to announce, in conjunction with the settlement, the donation of an undisclosed sum of money to a charitable organization that protects and champions labor rights.

‘Ms. Hadid is pleased to have put to rest this dispute, and to have resolved it in a way that demonstrates her commitment to safe and fair working conditions at construction sites around the world,’ said Gonzalo Zeballos, one of the BakerHostetler attorneys representing Ms. Hadid. The other BakerHostetler attorneys working on the matter were Oren Warshavsky and Maryanne Stanganelli.

Zaha Hadid Architects remains deeply committed to promoting safe and fair working conditions. The authorities in Qatar managing the Al-Wakrah site operate at the highest levels of worker health and safety, with no loss-time injuries since works began over a year ago. Workers live in high quality accommodations near the site, and the Emir of Qatar personally confirms that new laws protecting workers’ rights will be enforced, demonstrating that the parties delivering the Al- Wakrah stadium are leading by example.

 

 

 

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