On the Sidelines of the 50th Session of the Human Rights Council, Maat Discusses the Human Rights Situation in Qatar
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights held a side event yesterday, Sunday, June 26, 2022, on the sidelines of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council on “Human Rights Situation in Qatar”, with the presence of a number of human rights activists, including Mr. Abdullah Al-Malki, the human rights defender who leads campaigns advocate aimed at addressing the human rights situation in Qatar, and Kenyan activist Malcolm Bidali, advocate for migrant workers' rights and head of the Organization for the Defense of Migrants in Kenya.
The event discussed the abusive practices faced by migrant workers since Qatar won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in addition to other practices of restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and travel bans, all of which are rights that Qatar has committed to promoting under the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The speakers agreed that the life sentences issued against lawyers Hazza al-Marri, and Dr. Rashid Abu Sherida were politicized, by a judicial authority that lacks independence, especially after the Qatari Public Prosecution appealed on June 21 the verdict demanding their execution.
Abdullah Al-Malki, the human rights defender considered the complaints mechanisms for human rights violations in Qatar are not activated and considered the existence of human rights committees in the Qatari Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution to be a formality that lacks any executive mechanisms to take the complaints of Qatari citizens seriously, and that these committees do not Its role, which is entrusted with addressing human rights violations. In the end, Al-Malki called for concerted efforts to address the human rights situation in the State of Qatar.
The Kenyan activist, Malcolm Bidali, stressed the unfavorable working conditions such as high temperatures, long working hours and delayed wages, and considered all of this linked to the continued Kafala system adopted by Qatar, and explained that the foreign embassies that have workers in Qatar are complicit with the Qatari government in violating the rights of migrant workers.
Finally, Aly Elgamaal, a researcher at Maat, stressed that the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 provides an opportunity to pressure the Qatari government to address its human rights situation, and called on the State of Qatar to join the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
The speakers also called for the need to pressure the Qatari government to fulfill its commitments toward reforms related to the access of all migrant workers to their due wages and the necessary compensation before the start of the World Cup, ensuring the cessation of all arbitrary practices against lawyers, human rights defenders and members of the Al-Murra tribe, and repealing the sentences issued against lawyers Hazza al-Marri, and Dr Rashid Abu Sherida.