Doha: (NHRC: 18/5/2009): A training course for law enforcement on legislation and human rights in Qatar organized by NHRC opened at the Diplomatic Club, Sunday, 17th May 2009, with the participation of a number of NHRC advisers and Jurists led by Dr. Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri NHRC chairman and his deputy Dr. Yusuf Obaidan.
The workshop kicked off with a working paper by Dr. al-Marri dealing with, "Political Development in Qatar", and another by Dr. Yusuf Obaidan dealing with "The Qatari Constitution and the Political System".
Two other working papers on "Human Rights in the Qatari Constitution" and "The Qatari Constitution and international Human Rights Criteria" were presented by Councilor Mohammed Jadallah.
Before presenting his working paper, Dr. al-Merry announced that The United Nations Human Rights Training & Documentations Centre for South-West Asia & the Arab Region will be officially opened in Doha later this month- on 27th May 2009.
In his working paper, presented at the beginning of the training session H. E. Dr. al-Merry reviewed Political developments related to Transition to Democracy in Qatar that have been introduced when HH the Emir SH Hamad Ben Khalifa al-Thani acceded to power in June 1955.
H.E. said that the free and fair municipal elections. the establishment of democratic institutions, freedom of opinion and of the press and the strict adherence to law enforcement are obvious and clear symptoms of a gradual studied transition towards full democracy- in this regard, H.E. stressed that these steps were voluntary taken by HH who was in no-way under pressure to do so from the United States or any other international quarters.
On obstacles facing the implementation of democratic institutions in Qatar, H.E. said that such obstacles emanate from the natural national and cultural components of the Qatari society and its concept of citizenship. As an example, H.E. said civil society institutions are both weak and fragile and need to be freed from governmental restraints imposed on them so as to enable them to forcefully contribute to political reform in a way far more effective than that they are doing at present.
On future expectations as to efforts towards transition to democracy, H.E. expected that progress may still be limited as the country’s elite believe in a phased reform programme to that end. Political reform, H.E. went on to say, may progress but Qatar still has a long way to go to achieve what his Excellency described as real transition to democracy.
For his part, Dr. Obaidan, NHRC Vice president dealt in his working paper with the Qatari Constitution and the Political System in Qatar reviewing articles in the Constitution that Consolidated democratic principles and human rights.
In his two working papers, Councilor, Mohammad Fuad reviewed Human articles in the Qatari constitution with a view to the levels where they concur with articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this regard he also discussed obstacles facing efforts to implement those articles and referred to an NHRC programme underway aimed at creating qualified cadres that would be able to help society translate principles into daily life actions and behaviour.
In this regard, Mr. Fuad stressed the role of journalism and the journalist in promoting human rights principles so as to become part of daily social behavior.