Qatar reviewed by peers
Geneva, 15 May 2019
The human rights situation in Qatar was scrutinised by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. Qatar was praised for reforms and its accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. At the same time, European Union states recommended to lift reservations made to core international human rights covenants, to abolish exit permits for migrant workers, to ensure better protection of children, women and people with disabilities, to ensure gender equality, including criminalisation of domestic violence and protection of LGBTI groups and moratorium on death penalty. Russia emphasised challenges remaining in Qatar in regard to gender equality and recommended bringing national legislation into full compliance with international covenants, CEDAW in particular.
Switzerland recommended Qatar to abolish kafala system and exit permits, to guarantee independence of justice, to prosecute perpetrators of discrimination against women and to ensure access of victims to remedies. Turkey praised achievements of Qatar given “unjust” blockage since 2017. United Arab Emirates noted the need to stop and prevent incitement to hatred and hate speech in Qatari media. United Kingdom referred to forced labour and human trafficking in Qatar. United States advised Qatar to set clear timeline to abolish exit requirement, to provide places of worship for faith groups, to review nationality laws and to improve conditions for workers. Australia emphasised importance to ensure protection of minorities, including LGBTI community, human rights defenders and to review laws on child custody and women’s rights.
In its defence, Qatar refers to the National Vision 2030 and second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. In particular, Qatar government briefed on mechanisms to protect migrant workers, women and children, increased participation of women in workforce and political life of Qatar, measures taken to better integrate persons with disabilities, to combat human trafficking, reforms in health and education sectors, adoption of the Cybercrime Act 2014 to improve freedom of expression. In regard to abolition of death penalty, Qatar reiterated its strong position to maintain execution as punishment for grave crimes. On reservations to international instruments, Qatar noted readiness to lift them and pointed out precise justifications behind reservations.
In May 2014, Qatar was reviewed by peers for the second time and it has accepted 145 out of 183 recommendations. The third report of Qatar was reviewed this year. The Universal Periodic Review is a peer review of the human rights records of all UN Member States under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. During this process each State is given an opportunity to brief on their actions taken to improve human rights situations in their country and to fulfil their human rights commitments.
The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties issued a report on the sidelines of the discussion on the human rights situation in Qatar as part of the 33rd session of the UN Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council.
In its report, the Geneva Council welcomed Qatar’s progress in the area of human rights through the adoption of 145 of the 183 recommendations that emerged from the country’s last review in May 2014. GCRL warmly welcomes its accession to seven international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.
GCRL recommends further improvements on issues related to rights of specific persons and groups, civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
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