Qatar Emphasizes Continued Concern for Human Rights, Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The State of Qatar has affirmed its continued concern for human rights and the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and its effects on the basis of its commitment to all international treaties and conventions in this field and to its national references including the Constitution of the State and its National Vision 2030 stressing that it is a remarkable phase of its history moving forward towards full, comprehensive and even accelerated development, resulting in its record of unprecedented economic growth and recovery, with expatriate labor playing a pivotal role in this development.

This came in a statement of the State of Qatar delivered by HE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, at the 97th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which concludes today in Geneva.

HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs noted that the State of Qatar had continued its increasing attention to human rights and had taken the necessary legislative, legal, administrative and other measures to realize these rights and to provide them with the means to institutionalize, develop and modernize them within the framework of integrated social development. He added that the First National Development Strategy (2011-2016) and the Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022), which constitute a supportive and well-established environment for the implementation of human rights according to the approach which was called for by international treaties and conventions.

HE the Minister referred to the “The speech of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al -Thani, at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly held last September, in which His Highness stressed that human development and the protection and promotion of human rights are top priorities of the State of Qatar”.

HE the Minister expressed pleasure to meet with the Committee for the dialogue on the combined periodic reports of the State of Qatar from (17) to (21) under article (9) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. He expressed the State of Qatar appreciation of the important role played by the Committee in assisting States Parties to improve, strengthen their commitments and their implementation of the provisions of the Convention, and in this regard reaffirms the support of the State of Qatar and its full cooperation with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“The State of Qatar views this interactive dialogue as a reciprocal process that enhances the growing understanding between it and the Commission,” he said. “We have found that working with all monitoring committees and the useful dialogue they provide encourages us to move forward in securing rights and achieving goals. , And we consider the process of consideration of the reports by the Committee as a valuable opportunity for us to self-review and proper analysis of our situation in order to continuously improve our internal practices. “, HE the Minister added.

HE Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi said that the report presented to the Committee “was the result of a consultative dialogue and cooperation in the field of monitoring and implementation of the Convention among all parties concerned with the elimination of racial discrimination. It was prepared by a National Committee formed by HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al -Thani in October 2016. In accordance with its recommendations by the monitoring committees, the report was sent to the National Human Rights Committee for its comments. “, he noted.

HE the Minister said that the report, like previous reports of the State of Qatar, sets out the context in which the issues of the elimination, prevention and treatment of all forms of racial discrimination were addressed. In its first part (paras. 5-21), the report provided information and data on demographic composition, and some social and economic indicators indicating that the State of Qatar has already achieved most of the development goals. In addition, the report describes the general framework for the protection and promotion of human rights, which is the basic context for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

The second part of the report (paras. 23-100) dealt with the measures taken by the State of Qatar to apply the provisions of the Convention in accordance with the order of articles 1-7 of the Convention, while the last part of the report (paragraphs 101-131), dealt with the efforts made by the State to implement the observations and recommendations submitted on the State’s consolidated periodic reports from (13) to (16) in 2012.

“We are keen that the report includes all developments related to the Convention that have taken place in the State of Qatar since 2012.”, HE the Minister said, expressing the hope that the information contained therein would be useful in the context of interactive dialogue.

” The State of Qatar is very serious and attentive to the issues raised in the report before you and is committed to a constructive and comprehensive dialogue with your esteemed Committee. In order to demonstrate this commitment, an expanded delegation has come here to engage in this dialogue. The delegation includes six governmental bodies: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. These are some of the many bodies involved in implementing the Convention in the State, and there are many other bodies that contributed to the preparation and drafting of the report under discussion. “, HE the Minister said.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, stressed that the State of Qatar has placed the issue of compliance with the observations and recommendations made by the Committee in its consideration of the State’s consolidated periodic reports from 13 to 16 on its list of priorities, noting that the State has sought to implement the recommendations on the ground, which has had the actual and positive impact of raising awareness among the State employees of the concepts of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The recent dialogue with the Committee also reflected the trends and the strengthening of ongoing legislative reforms guaranteeing human rights including the elimination of all forms of discrimination, he added.

HE the Minister said that “The State of Qatar appreciates the contributions of expatriate workers and considers them as genuine partners in its development project. Therefore, protecting and promoting the rights of expatriate workers is a strategic option for the country,”, noting that the country has witnessed a period between its previous reports in 2012 and The submission of this report in 2017 has broad legislative and institutional developments with regard to human rights, and these developments have been elaborated on in the report before the Committee.

HE the Minister also pointed out that since the submission of the combined periodic reports in October 2017 to date, the State of Qatar has taken steps to move forward and strengthen the human rights infrastructure at the legislative, institutional, policy, strategy and international cooperation levels.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said, “We will enumerate a number of these developments in this introductory statement, while we will address a number of them during the replies to be presented by members of the delegation participating in this interactive dialogue. The effective role of international treaties and conventions, particularly those relating to human rights, the State has acceded to the International Covenants on Human Rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and thus becomes party to seven out of nine core human rights treaties.

He added that the State of Qatar has recently carried out major legislative reforms, most notably the legal framework governing the rights of expatriate workers, the issuance of non-Qatari property ownership laws, the asylum law, the domestic workers law, the permanent residence law , as well as regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, and establishing a workers’ support and insurance fund.

In addition, the Cabinet decided at its Ninth Ordinary Meeting of 2017 to approve the formation of the National Committee for the Preparation of the National Plan of Action for Human Rights. The Committee is currently working on a National Plan of Action for Human Rights which is a clear and practical approach to the promotion and protection of human rights in the State “.

HE Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi said that as part of strengthening the institutional framework for human rights, the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking was established in accordance with Cabinet Resolution No. 15 of 2017. The Committee aims to coordinate national efforts to monitor, prevent and combat human trafficking, its mandate includes the preparation of the National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and the preparation and publication of an annual report on the State’s efforts to combat human trafficking.

Regarding the empowerment of women, HE the Minister said that the State has continued to develop the necessary plans and strategies to support and enhance the role of women in all fields. The membership of the Council included four women in the Shura Council, reflecting the interest of the Qatari leadership in supporting women’s participation in all areas, especially the legislature, and motivate them to move forward to promote full political participation in accordance with Article 34 of the Qatari Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for all citizens. The first official spokesperson of the Qatari Foreign Ministry was appointed as the first woman to be appointed to this position. “, HE the Minister noted.

He also pointed out that the State of Qatar stands before the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and, since 5 June 2017, has faced unilateral and coercive measures by some States of the region that have resulted in serious and continuing violations of human rights, including the right to freedom of movement, residence and private property, the right to education, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to health, the right to freedom of belief, the right to development and other social violations related to separation of families, which is the most egregious violations.

HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that what is especially worrying is that these measures targeted Qataris. Therefore, they were racially discriminatory and violated all the principles of equality and prevention of discrimination stipulated in the international human rights instruments, foremost of which are the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which we are currently applying.

HE pointed out that the State of Qatar has sent letters to nine special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council, including monitoring violations of the blockades demanding that all measures be taken to stop these measures and prevent their recurrence, as well as to take all necessary steps to ensure respect for the rights of persons affected by such measures.

HE added that he would like to take this opportunity, from this important forum, to refer to the report issued by the substantive mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after its visit to the State of Qatar in November 2017. It included an objective and systematic description of the human rights violations that accompanied the imposition of the blockade on the State of Qatar.

Referring to the Order issued by the International Court of Justice on 23 July 2018 in the case concerning the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was established by the State of Qatar against the United Arab Emirates as the Court issued the following interim measures: The UAE must ensure: a. Reuniting Qatari families, separated by measures taken by the United Arab Emirates on 5 June 2017.

B. To give Qatari students who have been affected by the measures taken by the United Arab Emirates on 5 June 2017 the chance to complete their education in the UAE or to obtain their educational records if they wish to pursue their studies elsewhere.

C. Qataris affected by measures taken by the United Arab Emirates on 5 June 2017 shall be allowed access to other courts and tribunals in the United Arab Emirates.

2. The Parties shall refrain from any action that may aggravate the dispute or extend it to the Court or render its solution more difficult.

HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs pointed out that the State of Qatar filed a complaint against Saudi Arabia and the UAE in accordance with article 11 of the Convention relating to the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in the consideration of State complaints, saying in this content that we are confident in the ability of these mechanisms to redress the damage and redress the affected groups.

HE the Minister said that despite the current unjust blockade imposed on the State of Qatar, he would like once again to stress the political will and climate conducive to the protection and promotion of human rights, including the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and that Qatar will spare no effort, through its membership in regional and international organizations, to contribute actively to support efforts to promote and protect human rights.

HE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, addressed the dialogue committee on the State of Qatar’s combined periodic reports from 17 to 21, submitted under article 9 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and expressed his hope that the members of the Committee would take the opportunity to ask their questions, taking into account the nature of the national governmental bodies and areas of expertise represented here today in the delegation of the State of Qatar, and all were fully prepared to respond to questions that the Committee is considering discussing.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs