The Emir has signed new legislation on the registration of births and deaths in Qatar that includes much stricter penalties for anyone who gives falsified information to authorities.
Law No. 3 of 2016 was passed into law by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday, updating previous legislation governing registration that dated back 34 years (Law No. 5 of 1982).
Local daily newspaper Al Sharq has full details of the new law in Arabic on its website, and unofficial English translations of its 45 articles highlight a few key changes.
They include increasing jail time to up to three years and upping the maximum fine to QR100,000 for submitting fraudulent or incorrect information.
Additionally, the new law states that failure to register a birth or death within a certain time period or intentionally recording a birth or death more than once could lead to a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to QR10,000.
Previously, the penalties for double entry were three months in jail and/or a QR200 to QR2,000 fine.
Registering a birth
As before, babies born in Qatar must be registered within 15 days of being born, but the new law now makes it possible for the baby’s mother to do that.
According to Article 3, the order of people permitted to officially report a birth are: The baby’s father (if present); adult male relatives of the baby, followed by the closest female relative who attended the birth; the doctor who attended the birth or other authorized persons; the managers of the hospitals, prison or other place where the birth took place; the mother; a court-appointed competent person; the captain of a ship or pilot of an aircraft of other means of transport where the birth took place.
Babies born outside of the country to Qatari parents should be registered within 30 days of the birth.
Meanwhile, Article 4 outlines the information needed to register a birth, namely: the date of birth (according to the Hijri and Gregorian calendars); the time and place; and the gender of the baby along with his/her name.
The name should not be shared by a sibling and cannot be against public norms.
Also needed are the names of both parents, the doctor or registered person who helped with the delivery and the name of the person who reported the birth.
The new law additionally requires the name of the hospital or location where the birth took place, which was not specified under the old law.
It also specifies additional requirements from a hospital or licensed obstetrics center where a pregnancy is registered.
They facility must open a case file that should include information about the mother and statements of the husband or father of the baby, “according to the circumstances,” Article 7 states.
Non-submission of required documents must be reported to the public prosecutor.
The detailed provisions within the new law appear to be codifying existing practice in Qatar, where home births are not permitted and it is illegal for unmarried women to get pregnant or give birth.
A number of more detailed provisions concerning the procedure for registering deaths are also included in the updated law.
Most notably, the time period for registering a death or stillbirth has been extended from 48 hours to seven days.
In the case of a baby who has died before being registered, its birth and death must be reported. However, for babies stillborn after 28 weeks, only their death needs to be registered.
The details of nationals living outside Qatar should be registered with the relevant authorities within 30 days.
A permanent committee on births and deaths will be established at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and it, along with the Ministry of Public Health, will be responsible for administering the procedures.