Doha: NHRC-Agencies: 3/3/2009: NHRC Chairman, Dr. Ali Ben Smaikh al-Marri has slammed a report of the US Department of State on Qatar’s record in human rights as “politicized” and “full of wrong information, adding that the report has ignored the progress made by Qatar on its human rights record.
“The US report, whether this year’s one or the previous years reports, include lots of wrong information that does not reflect the reality of human rights situation in Qatar, al-Marri said yesterday, (Tuesday: 3/3/2009) at a press conference to announce an anti-human trafficking awareness campaign. He added that NHRC is not much concerned with the American report. At the end, he added, it is issued by a single state, even if it is a super power. We only consider the reports issued by concerned international organizations and the UN. Al-Marri added that the report does not conform with internationally accepted right criteria for monitoring human rights issues.
“We know the report is mainly based on the information provided by the US embassy in Doha, for example, but I met with some officials at the US embassy here and they told me that the embassy gives the right information, but the US State Department shows only what it wants to show,” Dr al-Marri said.
Meanwhile, Qatari Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking director general Miriam al-Malki denied that the campaign on combating human trafficking, is launched in response to the US report, reiterating that the campaign had been planned well ahead of the publication of the US department report.
On human trafficking in Qatar, al-Malki blamed such cases on the “countries of origin of the workforce coming to Qatar”:
“There might be some unlawful practices, but there is no organized human trafficking crime. The crime is committed in the countries from where the victims buy visas at very high prices after false promises given to them.
Al-Marri, meanwhile, hailed the new sponsorship law, saying it included several steps forward by introducing further mechanisms for sponsorship transfer through the Minister of Interior and the labour department if the sponsor is proven to have behaved in an arbitrary fashion. “The pervious law was putting both the sponsorship transfer and exit permits solely in the hands of the sponsor. This is not the case now as the Ministry of Interior can also issue exit permits under specific circumstances,” he added.
However, al-Marri hoped that more teeth can be added to the law to create a balance between the rights of the employees and the employers.
The anti-trafficking campaign, to be held jointly by the NHRC and the al-Malki’s Qatari Foundation, will seek to educate people on the crime of trafficking in persons as well as ways to combat it.
“There would be seminars, lectures and TV programmes till the end of the month. We will also hold a meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions whose countries export workers to Qatar,” al-Malki elaborated.