March 19, 2019
The National Human Rights Committee and Qatar University in cooperation and the Ministry of Interior organized a seminar entitled “The Right to Vote and Stand for Elections” on the occasion of the Sixth Session of the Central Municipal Council Elections 2019, with the participation of a number of members and senior officials of the National Human Rights Committee. Dr. Mohammed bin Saif Al-Kuwari, member of the National Human Rights Committee, said that participating in the electoral process is a national duty, calling on all the Qatari people to participate and cast their votes to promote democracy among all members of society, leading the country to further democratic progress and political prosperity. Al-Kuwari explained that the nature of any elections leads to the identification of the social context in which the electoral processes are carried out in different dimensions, because this context occupies particular importance in understanding the nature of participation in electoral processes and its development and the results it produces.
Al Kuwari said that the electoral process is a catalyst for the candidate to play a major and important role in serving his constituency and his country by translating the demands of the constituents into realistic projects that directly or indirectly affect the development of the democratic experiment and contribute to the development of society at all levels. Al-Kuwari revealed the preparation of a detailed plan to monitor the elections of the Sixth Central Municipal Council in accordance with the program approved by the Ministry of the Interior, in addition to the development of an awareness plan on the right to participate in the political life and practical measures to implement the said plan in accordance with the national legislations, and National, regional and international human rights, pointing out that the role played by the committee during the election period comes within the provisions of Article (3) of Decree Law No. (17) for the year 2010 organizing the National Human Rights Committee, especially item (5), which provides for “monitoring the human rights situation in the State, And the preparation of reports thereon, and submit them to the Council of Ministers with their views “and item (9), which provides for” dissemination of awareness and education of human rights and freedoms, and the consolidation of its principles, at the levels of thought and practice.”
Al-Kuwari pointed out that the Elections are the gateway to democracy, it supports and regulates the governance of any country, through which the rights of individuals are recognized in society. Elections are also the best way to achieve sustainable development achievements in the country, stressing at the same time that the right to run and to vote is the right of every citizen without discrimination to participate in the public affairs in the state which is guaranteed in international instruments as well as Article 42 of the Constitution.
During the lecture, Al-Kuwari reviewed the provisions of international conventions on the election and nomination of citizens according to the national laws and international agreements including Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the rights relevant to the various stages of the electoral process, including the need for the polling centers to meet the accessibility; the need to have instructions or signs to the voters about the location of the polling centers; And the need to facilitate the voting process for persons with disabilities and the elderly. Al-Kuwari said: “If there is a disabled person with a motor disability who wanted to exercise his/her right to vote, and the polling place does not have a ramp, then This falls within the competence of the sub-committee on field visits and monitoring of the NHRC which shall consider this situation as a form of violation of the rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with international human rights instruments.” Al-Kuwari said: “It is also necessary to ensure that there is no campaign material inside the polling station and that voters are allowed to vote after presenting their ID cards, and that no pressure is exerted on voters when they mark the ballot paper. Moreover, Electoral committee officials should ensure that the election committees is organized in an effective way and that observers monitor the voting process freely within polling stations, and that the representatives of the candidates did not face any problems in entering the Electoral Commission.”
In his welcome speech, Dr. Omar Bin Mohammed Al Ansari, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Qatar university, said: “Communities are distinguished and flourished with the participation of all their citizens in all aspects of development that societies seek to achieve. They promote the values of participation and the right to exercise all their rights, the most important of which is the right to political life. This year, our participation in this electoral process is a national duty and a consolidation of the principle of democracy, reflecting the cultural advancement of individuals in society. we call on all citizens of Qatar to participate actively in these elections. ”
For his part, Lieutenant Saleh Jassim Al Mohammadi, member of the Legal Committee for Municipal Council elections, stressed the great importance of municipal council elections due to the Council’s role in monitoring the implementation of laws, decisions and regulations related to the powers and competencies of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, including laws and regulations relating to the organization of buildings and planning of land, roads, commercial, industrial and public outlets and other fields. He added: “In each constituency, there is a committee of “appeals and grievances formed by the Minister of the Interior in each constituency to adjudicate the appeals and grievances related to the registration in the voter lists, also addressed the definition of the candidate and the related criteria and said: “In accordance with the provisions of Decree No. (17) of 1998 concerning the system of electing members of the Central Municipal Council, a candidate is required to be an original Qatari citizen or to acquire citizenship provided that their father is born in Qatar; to be registered in the voters’ lists in the constituency which they wish to represent, and has a permanent residence within its borders; have not previously been convicted of an offense against honor or trust; at least 30years of age; literate and known for their competence and honesty.