FILE – Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad - Carlo Allegri/Reuters FILE – Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad - Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Egypt's FDHR unfolds Qatar's human rights violations

Mon, May. 20, 2019
CAIRO – 20 May 2019: Egypt-based Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog sent a report on human rights violations in Qatar to the International Council for Human Rights to discuss Qatar's human rights record in Geneva.

Discussing Qatari human rights situation is being conducted for the third time since the ICHR adopted a relevant mechanism in 2008. All member states of the ICHR and non-governmental organizations are scheduled to attend the Wednesday meeting.

The information in the report is based on the national report provided by the state, the reports of human rights experts and the independent expert groups and other relevant human rights bodies and civil society organizations.

The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog reported serious violations of human rights in Qatar, including the remarks of the rapporteur concerned with the independence of the judiciary and lawyers in the United Nations. As a result, 33 judges resigned because of what they described as continuous interference in their work.

The forum's report pointed to the regime's ignorance of the recommendations of the United Nations for the establishment of more transparent and impartial criteria concerning the appointment of the judges. The regime also ignored complaints about inequality between Qatari and non-Qatari judges in terms of social benefits and allowances.

The report referred to three Qatari laws that it described as "notorious" whose provisions violate the basic human rights principles including Law No. 17 of 2002, which allows the interior minister to detain persons for up to one year and extend detention after the approval of the prime minister. The detention decision can only be appealed by the prime minister.

It also commented on Law No. 3 of 2004, which authorizes a prosecutor to detain persons for a period of six months before the trial and Law No. 5 of 2003, which allows the detention of persons accused of crimes that threaten the state's security for a period of one month before they can appear before the public prosecution.

Concerning migrant workers, the report criticized Qatar's disregard for the UN's warnings of the need to end the suffering of migrant workers in light of the non-transparent procedures and the expensive court fees that can reach $200, which can prevent such persons from obtaining judicial assistance.

According to the Qatari Constitution, the Consultative Assembly of Qatar consists of 45 members, two thirds of whom are elected while 15 members are appointed by the emir. However, since 2006, the emir appoints all members of the assembly, the report said, which means that the executive authority is violating the powers of the legislative authority.

The foreign workers involved in the construction of buildings and stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were subject to grave violations and ill-treatment, which caused death in some cases, while salaries of some workers were unpaid, the forum said.

Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, Leader of Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, was quoted by the Mirror saying: "If we were to hold a minute of silence for every estimated death of a migrant worker due to the constructions of the Qatar World Cup, the first 44 matches of the tournament would be played in silence," the report mentioned.

Qatar has an immigrant labor force of about 2 million people, which make up about 95 percent of the total labor force, the report said, noting that about 40 percent or 800,000 of them work under high temperature, which can lead to fatal diseases, especially in the absence of sufficient breaks.

In 2013, health authorities reported 520 deaths among workers, 385 people of whom died due to unexplained reasons, the forum said.

Qatar has reduced the salaries of hundreds of workers in infrastructure projects established in preparation of the 2022 World Cup which is set to be hosted by the 11,571 square kilometer country, a high-level source told Egypt Today.

The peninsula has cut the workers' salaries despite increasing their working hours, a decision that violates the international labor law and human rights covenants, the source added.

The report said that the Qatari death courts are staffed by workers from Nepal, India and the Philippines, under the auspices of Mercury Mena Engineering Company, which operates in Qatar, with a salary of €1700 each, stressing that this amount represents for some of these workers the salary of ten months.

The report stressed that there is blatant discrimination against naturalized persons in Qatar according to article 12 of the Qatari Nationality Law No. 38 of 2005, which affirms that naturalized persons enjoy less protection, as Qatari citizenship can be withdrawn from them at any time.

According to Article 16, there is inequality between citizens of Qatari origin and citizens by naturalization. Naturalized Qataris do not have the same political rights as nationals of Qatari origin,as they cannot be elected, nominated or appointed by any legislative body.

He pointed out that the Qatari regime intentionally discriminates between men and women regarding granting the citizenship to children. He added, "As a result of this discrimination, Qatari women suffer to educate, care for their children and provide them with access to employment opportunities ."

The report also highlights the state of international concern about child rights violations, where Qatari law defines the age of criminal responsibility for a child by 7 years, and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has also expressed concern about the children between the ages of 16 and 18 years .

With regard to human trafficking inside Qatar, the report drew attention to the international warnings expressed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence against women in Qatar, especially on female migrant domestic workers levels. When these women try to Report the attacks, they are subjected to major obstacles to access justice.
"Women migrants find themselves in a state of extreme vulnerability where they are subject to severe discrimination due to their sex and because of their status as immigrants," a report submitted by the Rapporteur to the International Council for Human Rights in its session read.
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