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How much does Qatar care about Human Rights?

Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor questioned the policies and laws practiced in Qatar, which contradicts its laws on paper and violate human rights. Qatari constitution reflects duplicity as it guarantees its citizens’ fundamental rights but bars them from exerting freedoms of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association. Qatar doesn’t even allow them the right to form or join independent unions, nor can they access the right to legal strikes and collectiveaction.

The European watchdog presented a brief report, highlighting the double-faced aspect of the country’s law of the land, which comes in direct violation of the international conventions signed by Doha. The report strongly criticized Qatari regime’s control over its media, restricting its freedom and independence. Besides restricting, Qatar’s Press and Publications Act 1997 also authorises the regime to penalize anyone who disrespects the Emir of Qatar, and prohibits media outlets from touching upon any matter which could harm the “interests of the country” or “public morality”.

To seal the mouths of several human rights organisations raising their voice against Qatar’s exploitative polices, the government tightened its grip on independent human rights organisations in thecountry, by outlawing formation of civil society organisations.

Among other concerns, the Gulf nation has been condemned at several international forums for practicing ‘modern slaver’ through forced migrant labor. Qatar exercises kafala system of labor sponsorship where foreign workers, from countries like Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, face restrictions, binding their visas. These foreign workers make 90% of all workers in the country. The International Labor Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 29 clearly specifies forced labor as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” Similar issue was also raised by Amnesty International which submitted a detailed report last year on the plight of migrant workers in the country.

International Human Rights organisations have asked Qatar authorities to amend its domestic laws and policies towards workers, both Qatari and non-Qatari nationals, making it at par with international standards.

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