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Protecting human rights in Qatar

November 22, 2011 - 11:10:49 pm

The National Committee for Human Rights, as stated by the decree of its planning, aims to promote and protect human rights and freedom. The main features of it are:

• To suggest ways to achieve the objectives with the international treaties and conventions.

• To look into human rights violations and work to resolve them.

• To monitor the situation of human rights in the state and raise it to the Council of Ministers.

This talk is good, but when we continue to read the competencies of the Committee we are surprised by the provision of text which states that : “Monitor what may arise from the human rights situation in the state and coordinate with the concerned authorities to respond.” The irony in this is that there is monitoring to respond and not to investigate and save the people from repression. It is, therefore, not surprising that the head of the National Commission for Human Rights at every occasion, formal and informal, will confirm that there is no policy which violates human rights in Qatar. What this statement does not say is that he and all members of the committee are staff of the Qatari government.

We see that the committee in its current work focuses only on the situation of “stateless” in the State and the rights of children of married female citizens from non-citizens. The committee, as it says in its reports, puts pressure on the government to change some laws by providing recommendations especially that concern the law of sponsorship, which, as they say in the committee, is better than the former, as the committee submitted a recommendation to the concerned authorities on the abolition of exit permit by the sponsor. They also say in their reports that we hope to take action on this part and the right of the Palestinian people to return and clearly define the meaning of terrorism.

In the State of Qatar, there is no problem of stateless which is found in Kuwait, but we have the problem of Qatar’s population which is significantly different from the problem of stateless. The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, since  then he was the crown prince, solved their many problems and gave them equal rights in one way or another with the citizens. With regard to the rights of children of married female citizens from non-citizens, His Highness the Emir issued Emiri decision and the exceptions and worked on their equality with the citizens in rights and duties except the citizenship, because the children, as is the case in most of the countries of the world, follow the father’s nationality. With regard to the Committee’s pressure on the government in relation to the sponsorship and cancellation of exit permit by the sponsor, it does not come under the competencies of the committee, but it comes under the guidance of the United Nations and the ILO. The problem is that what is done by the State itself they say that it is the accomplishment of the committee. We fear for the members of the committee of Allah’s warning when he said in the Qura’n “Think not that those who exult in what they have brought about, and love to be praised for what they have not done,- think escape the penalty. For them is a penalty Grievous indeed.” [Aal ‘Imraan: 188

The Committee did not protect the human rights and freedoms particularly of the the Qatari citizen. The Qatari citizen is not protected by the authority of the government:

• He is forced to retire in the prime of his youth for no apparent reason and replaced in the same previous with non-nationals (the proportion of citizens in the total employment is not more than five percent).

• His property is confiscated and approved by Sharia and the Constitution with an excuse that it is out of the limits” and here it is intended that it is out of the city and not the State.”

• The law to protect the society is applied to him in light of what is called as the state of law and institutions while such a law in other countries is called as emergency law.

• He is prevented from exercising certain business and service activities because it is government’s monopoly and an individual cannot compete with the government.

• The prices of commodities and services for him are raised by the government because the government agreed to its companies to raise their prices for the citizens and residents and it has become the right of traders too to raise their prices to keep up with the government.

• The prices of goods and services for the citizens are raised again, because the government raised the fees and irregularities and identified the places of activities and staff accommodation which raised the expenses of the companies and thus raised the prices.

• The percentage of poverty and the poor people has increased in the state and the funds of state and associations, which are known as charity, go outside the border and the poor citizen who lives in this land is deprived of pearl diving days.

These models of the suffering of the citizens and the loss of their rights, even if we wanted to continue, we will find wonder of wonders and in the last the committee shall monitor what may arise from the human rights situation in the state and coordinate with the concerned authorities to respond. But the real problem is the work of the committee that stands with the non-citizen with the name of “National Committee for Human Rights” and it means that it is a National Committee before a human one.

The global committees for human rights stand in the row of human against the violations to which a short-sighted citizen can be exposed to in the government agencies. We in Qatar thank Allah for that, as He gave us an Emir who always stands with the people and unites their ranks. This is what we want to see in the work of government and in the approach of National Committee for Human Rights.