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U.S. Statement on the Universal Periodic Review of Qatar in the Human Rights Council
February 8, 2010

UN Human Rights Council


Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Qatar

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

(As submitted for the record)

The United States warmly welcomes Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr. Al Mahmoud and the Qatari delegation to the Working Group of the UPR. We have carefully considered Qatar’s national report and followed today’s presentation and offer the following comment and recommendations.

The United States remains concerned about the treatment and rights of migrant workers in Qatar, and we thus recommend that Qatar pass a comprehensive law specifically outlawing trafficking in persons. We further recommend that Qatar implement its new Sponsorship Law in a way that ends migrant workers’ dependence on their sponsors for residency rights, enabling workers to change jobs, travel, and negotiate for a fair contract without their sponsor’s permission. We additionally recommend that Qatar effectively protect the rights of the domestic workers who are excluded from the purview of current labor laws and who must rely for protection solely on the provisions of unregulated, private contracts they sign with their employers, thus making them especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Although most members of many religions in Qatar worship without government interference, the United States is concerned that the Government of Qatar does not authorize facilities for members of religious minorities such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Baha’i, and that it prohibits Christian congregations from advertising religious services or using religious symbols visible to the public. The United States recommends Qatar allow the public use of religious symbols and authorize facilities for members of religious minorities. In addition, we recommend that Qatar make its laws pertaining to religious activities more transparent.

The United States recommends that Qatari laws that discriminate against women be properly addressed, including family laws, laws and procedures relating to the authority of guardians over women, and nationality laws. While recognizing that most of the obstacles faced by women in Qatar are cultural in origin and not legal, we are concerned with discriminatory practices women face in Qatar.

We are concerned about the postponement of the Advisory Council elections in Qatar that have been overdue since the new constitution came into force in 2005. The United States recommends that Qatar proceed with setting up the Advisory Council as envisaged by the constitution and set a date for elections to that body.