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Qatar Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Despite the progress made by the government of Qatar, allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment continue to be reported, albeit sporadically.

There are indications that the police in Qatar are reluctant to treat violence against women, particularly violence within the family, as a criminal matter although such violence constitutes an assault under strict application of the law.

Despite the progress made by the government of Qatar, allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment continue to be reported, albeit sporadically, and there are not adequate systems in place, in practice, to ensure prompt, independent investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment and adequate remedy or redress for victims. Sentences of flogging continued to be imposed.

Qatar's domestic legislation fails to define or adequately prohibit torture. Article 36 of the Constitution states "…No one shall be subjected to torture or degrading treatment. Torture shall be considered a crime publishable by law". However, this is not reflected in Qatar's Penal Code of 2004, which contains no provision specifically prohibiting torture and fails therefore, to give legislative effect to this important constitutional safeguard.

Incommunicado detention is standard practice by State Security forces in Qatar. Amnesty International has received reports in recent years of dozens of people being detained incommunicado by State Security forces for weeks or months, followed by prolonged arbitrary detention without charge or trial.

In 2006, the UN Committee against Torture examined Qatar's implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee expressed concern that arrest and detention procedures placed suspects at increased risk of torture, particularly the lack of access to a lawyer or independent doctor or any requirement that the authorities notify a detainee's relatives of the arrest.

Qatari blogger and the founder of a human rights organization, Sultan al-Khalaifi, who was arrested on March 2nd 2011 and detained incommunicado was released on April 1st 2011 without any charges.

There are indications that the police in Qatar are reluctant to treat violence against women, particularly violence within the family, as a criminal matter although such violence constitutes an assault under strict application of the law. This police reluctance to address the issue using the criminal law, it is suggested, tends to deter women from coming forward to report violence to which they are subject within the home.

Article 35 of the new Qatari Constitution bans all discrimination "on grounds of sex, race, language, or religion". In practice, however, women remained subject to gender discrimination under a range of laws and practices, such as laws concerning marriage contracts that favor men. Women must also obtain approval from their husband or guardian before traveling, and children of Qatari women who marry foreign nationals do not qualify for Qatari citizenship, unlike children born to Qatari fathers and foreign mothers.

Qatar Newsroom



September 25, 2019 • Press Release

World Athletics Championships in Qatar Played Out in Shadow of Migrant Worker Abuses

The plight of migrant workers who continue to be abused and exploited while working in Qatar will cast a shadow over the World Athletics Championships, Amnesty International said ahead of the showpiece sporting event which starts this week.

February 26, 2019 • Report

Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of 2018

The international community’s chilling complacency towards wide-scale human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has emboldened governments to commit appalling violations during 2018 by giving them the sense that they need never fear facing justice, said Amnesty International as it published a review of human rights in the region last year. …

February 4, 2019 • Report

Qatar: Authorities must step up efforts to honour labour rights promises before 2022 World Cup

With less than four years to go until the 2022 World Cup, the Qatari authorities risk falling behind on their promise to tackle widespread labour exploitation of thousands of migrant workers, Amnesty International said today.

September 25, 2018 • Report

Qatar: Migrant workers unpaid for months of work by company linked to World Cup host city

A new investigation by Amnesty International has exposed how an engineering company involved in building 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure took advantage of Qatar’s notorious sponsorship system to exploit scores of migrant workers. The company, Mercury MENA, failed to pay its workers thousands of dollars in wages and work benefits, leaving them stranded and penniless in Qatar.

December 14, 2017 • Press Release

Gulf crisis: Six months on, families still bearing brunt of Qatar political dispute

The lives of thousands of Gulf residents remain in turmoil as a consequence of the ongoing political dispute in the region, said Amnesty International, more than six months after the crisis began.

November 9, 2017 • Press Release

FIFA under pressure over handling of World Cup construction abuse

FIFA should act immediately on a series of critical recommendations made today in the first report published by its Human Rights Advisory Board, said Amnesty International.

December 9, 2016 • Report

New name, old system? Qatar’s new employment law and abuse of migrant workers

Changes to labor laws in Qatar barely scratch the surface and will continue to leave migrant workers, including those building stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup, at the mercy of exploitative bosses and at risk of forced labor, said Amnesty International in a new briefing.

December 1, 2016 • Press Release

Qatar: Blocking of Doha News website ‘an outright attack’ on media freedom

In response to the news that access to Doha News, Qatar’s leading independent English language daily news site has been blocked to internet users inside the country, James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Global Issues said:   “This is an alarming setback for freedom of expression in the country. Deliberately blocking people in Qatar …

May 3, 2016 • Press Release

Upholding torture-tainted convictions in Qatar exposes deep flaws in justice system

The convictions of three Filipino nationals on charges of espionage were yesterday upheld by Qatar’s Court of Cassation. The court upheld one life term and two sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment.

April 22, 2016 • Press Release

FIFA/Qatar: New monitoring body ‘step in right direction’ but action on abuses needed now

Responding to FIFA's announcement of a new oversight body to monitor working conditions on stadiums for the 2022 World Cup Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International's Gulf Migrants Rights Researcher said:

Human rights are under threat:

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