Qatar’s human rights record, criticised as inhuman by several human rights organisations, is to be examined by the United Nation’s Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, for the third time on Wednesday, May15th.
Qatar is one of the 14 states to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 6th to 17th May. Qatar’s first and second UPR reviews took place in February 2010 and May 2014, respectively, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
On Tuesday, the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain and Europe, said that UPR meeting will put Qatar’s abuse of human rights under scrutiny to review the ‘inhuman’ practices of Doha’s regime.
It added in a statement, that the UPR will discuss the treatment of citizens and foreigners by Qatari courts, as it is different, and dependent on the nationality of the person or his/her economic or professional status, and in addition Qatar's nationality law provides that persons who are naturalized and gain Qatari nationality enjoy less protection.
The review, which is based upon UN Security Council resolutions, summarizes reports of 16 major international rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain and Europe.
The Arab Organization said that these reports bring Qatar under scrutiny on major human rights issues, including discrimination against foreign workers, degrading conditions of prisoners, and citizens stripped of their nationality without justifications.
The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member states have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles. During the third UPR cycle, states are again expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed during their previous reviews, and which they are committed to follow-up on, as well as to highlight recent human rights developments in the country.
The 33rd session of the UPR will be discussing discriminatory treatment of Qatari courts for citizens and foreigners, which varies depending on the nationality of the person or his/ her economic or professional status. And Qatar’s nationality law provides that naturalized citizens receive less protection.
The Qatari constitution provides that all citizens are equal in rights and duties. However, Qatari nationality law affirms that naturalized persons shall receive “less protection" than their indigenous counterparts, and Qatari nationality may be annulled at any time by the minister of interior, the statement said.
It added, that according to the provisions of the nationality law, there is inequality between citizens of Qatari origin and naturalized citizens who do not have the same political rights. However long citizens have been naturalized for, they cannot ever vote, be nominated or appointed to any legislative body.
Moreover, the UPR will also tackle the topic of discrimination against women concerning granting citizenship to children of Qatari women, who are married to non-Qatari men. This gives women difficulties in educating their children and seeking employment opportunities, when they are compared to the citizens of countries in the "Gulf Cooperation Council" who are granted more rights than those enjoyed by the children of Qatar women, and also when they are compared to those who have citizenship.
The Arab Organization added that the meeting will also discuss women in Qatar as in addition they face all forms of discrimination both in law and in practice, and personal status laws still discriminate against women in regard to marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody, nationality and freedom of movement.
Despite a formal approval of a draft law granting permanent residency to children of Qatari women married to non-Qatari men, discrimination continues to be made with regard to the transfer of citizenship to their children.
And in another chapter in the sad history of human rights violations, Doha has a growing number of citizens who have had their nationality withdrawn, with some 6,000 Qataris being denied basic rights, the Arab Organization stated.
In addition, there are between 1,200 and 1,500 stateless persons in Qatar, called Bidoons, (short for bidoon jinsiya meaning ‘without nationality’ in Arabic), who face severe discrimination, including denial of legal employment or registration for public health and education services, it said.
Also, the report refers to the dire labour conditions faced by expatriate workers in Qatar, as an estimated 2,000 who have died during the construction of the 2022 World Cup infrastructure, as well as large numbers of people in the "deportation prisons" without any legal justification, held under very poor conditions.