Oct 27 2009

Qatar: Committee compiles draft report on human rights

DOHA: The National Committee assigned for preparing the State's Human Rights Report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council has compiled the report and is working to get the final official nod.

This was disclosed by Sheikh Khalid bin Jassim Al Thani, Director of the Human Rights Office at the Foreign Ministry, and Deputy Chairman of the National Committee, at a media briefing at Doha Sheraton yesterday.

Sheikh Khalid said that the Committee, which was set up by a Cabinet decision in February, has compiled a draft of the report. After the official approval and collecting the feedback of concerned authorities, stakeholders, civil societies and community members, a final report will be prepared.

The Committee holds responsibility for defending the State report during the Periodic Review session in Geneva scheduled on February 2010. Asked if the Committee expects challenging issues, like sponsorship law, would be raised during the review of Qatar reports, Sheikh Khalid said: "Qatar has witnessed a remarkable legislative reform in the past few years.

The major reforms include establishment of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), opening of Human Rights offices at the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs, amendments on the Sponsorship Law, launching of the constitutional court and ratification of several international conventions".

"We believe all these improvements reflects Qatar's keenness in protecting human rights violations," said the official

Committee members belong to government and non-government agencies including Human Rights Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar Permanent Mission to Geneva, Advisory Council, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Supreme Council for Family Affairs, The National Office for Combating Trafficking in Humans (QFCTH) and Qatari Foundation for the Protection of Women & Children.

As part of the process of putting the report in order, the Committee through affiliated committees is involved in clarifying the report for the public. Several meetings have been conducted including expatriate community leaders, Qatar University students and academic staff among others. Yesterday's meeting was dedicated to the media personnel.

The event was attended by Abdullah Al Muhanadi, Director of Human Rights Committee Maryam al Malki, QFCTH' Director, Faridah Al Obaidely from Supreme Council for Family Affairs besides significant presence of the local and regional media.

The report will be posted on the Committee's website qatarupr.mofa@gov.qa to allow individual and institutions give their views. A hotline 4251251 has also been allocated by for the same purpose.

© The Peninsula 2009

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