The abuse of migrant workers, discrimination against women and Qatar’s stance on the death penalty were highlighted in an Amnesty International report released last week.
When contacted for comment, Amnesty, which released its 2011 reports for all countries on May 12, declined to say how Qatar measured up to its neighbors and whether it has progressed or declined in terms of human rights.
“Qatar is similar to other countries in the Gulf when it comes to migrants rights issues however we do not compare countries in terms of which is worse or better,” Amnesty spokeswoman Rothna Begum told Doha News.
At least 17 people were believed to be under sentence of death at the end of 2010, but there were no known executions, the report said.
But Begum added:
Qatar has not announced any moratorium and in fact voted against the UN General Assembly resolutions calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions unlike another country in the region which have abstained such as Oman.
Qatar has also continued to pass death sentences and in 2004 brought in the Counter-Terrorism Law (Law No. 3 of 2004) that have offences which carry the death penalty.
On a positive note, Qatar has shown some marked improvements in the past five years, including in:
- Literacy: Qatar’s literacy rate went up from 89 percent in 2007 to 93.1 percent.
- Statehood: In 2007, Amnesty said more than 2,000 people, many from the Al Murra tribe that was partly blamed for a coup attempt in 1996, were deprived of Qatari nationality. By the end of 2010, 100 people from that tribe were reportedly still waiting for citizenship.
- Women: In 2010, a woman was appointed as a judge, for the first time in Qatar, to the Court of First Instance.
Read the full report here.
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