Dr. Yousif Obeidan: Exercising civil and political rights reflects one of the finest images of citizenship, including the right to stand in election and the right to vote
Dr. Aisha Al-Mannai: The right to citizenship is guaranteed for various groups and under all circumstances
Dr. Asmaa Al-Attiyah: Equal opportunities, equality, non-discrimination and rights to access to enable people with disabilities and the preparation of educational brochures and leaflets in Braille
Faisal Al Kooheji: We placed high importance on the fundamental rights of candidates and voters
The National Human Rights Committee organized in cooperation and partnership with the Qatar Social and Cultural Center for the blind of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, on the occasion of the municipal council elections, a seminar on the political rights of persons with disabilities on Monday, April 27, 2015, at the headquarters of the cultural and social center for the Blind, presented by Dr. Yousif Obaidan, Deputy Chairman of the NHRC and Dr. Aisha Al Mannai, Dean of Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Hamad bin Khalifa. Among the attendees were Dr. Asmaa Al Attiyah, member of the NHRC and a member of the Committee on Election Monitoring at the NHRC, Head of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Qatar University, Faisal Muhammad Al-Kooheji, Chairman of Qatar Social and Cultural Center for the Blind, Dr. Khaled Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Arab Federation for the Blind and advisor at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Plenipotentiary Minister of the Secretariat of the Arab League on Disability, Dr. Tarek Al-Issawi, expert at the social and cultural center for the blind, Mr. Ali Kumait, member of the Board of Directors, and former specialist at the Al Noor Institute for the Blind, representatives of the department of elderly and people with special needs and public relations department at the Ministry of the Interior, and members of the center.
At the beginning of the seminar, Dr. Asmaa Al Attiyah talked about upholding the principles of human dignity, justice, equality and non-discrimination. All humans are equal and entitled to dignity, rights and duties, without any form of discrimination, regardless of physical, social, or other differences.
Dr. Yousif Obeidan gave an overview on stages of the elections in the State of Qatar and pointed out that the elections had existed in the past in a simpler framework, until it revolted when His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani took over the reins of leadership in the State, Dr. Yousuf Obaidan said that the CMC election is the result of reforms initiated by HH the Emir after he took the reins of power in 1995 as part of steps to create democratic friendly environment. He stated “The State of Qatar from its beginning is moving towards democracy gradually and in an appropriate way that suits situation of the country to ensure stability and it has been successful. Before the first CMC election, Ministry of Information was dissolved and press censorship was removed. CMC elections followed it and a committee was formed to draft permanent constitution of the country”, said Dr. Obaidan emphasizing the success of each step. He also mentioned that in Qatar, Municipalities were formed in 1950’s after the petrol was invented and that time the members were nominated to the municipalities. The rule of HH the Emir was a turning point as gradual democratic process was initiated. The democratic process of western countries cannot be implemented at once in younger countries like Qatar; so it adopted the gradual process, he said. He added “HH the Emir was keen on the rights of Qatari women to vote and stand for elections and they were permitted in first CMC elections in 1999. Although no women candidate won the election, their political participation was triumph for Qatari women among gulf women”, Dr. Obaidan added. He also referred to the four women candidates fighting strongly in the coming elections.
Dr. Aysha Al Mannai, talked about the political rights in Islam, how Islam honors everyone, and the right of citizenship in the Islamic law, pointing out that every human being whether a man or woman’s has rights and duties, no matter what the circumstances and conditions. Al Mannai added that the right of citizenship is inspired by Islamic law, she talked about the role of women in the elections, their rights and how Islam and the Constitution honors them. She stressed that people with disabilities are an integral part of society pointing out that the (disability is not inability), and the right of citizenship is entitled to various groups and under all circumstances. She stressed the importance of the role of the centers for persons with disabilities in helping its members to stand in elections and spreading awareness in this regard, she called for the need to enable persons with disabilities to exercise their civil and political rights.
Dr. Asmaa Al Attiyah, the General Coordinator of the seminar, said that the organization of this seminar is part of a plan developed by the NHRC on the awareness and education of the Political Rights on the occasion of the municipal council elections. She stressed the importance of the issues and inquiries raised by the participants in this seminar, including, for example, ensuring the participation of persons with disabilities fully and effectively in society, political empowerment, equality of opportunity, non-discrimination, access rights, enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, and provision of awareness and educational materials in Braille. In this regard, Al Attiyah noted that there has already been coordination with the Qatar Cultural and Social for the Blind to provide all the materials prepared by the NHRC on awareness and education of the Political Rights in Braille.
Mr. Faisal Al Kooheji called on the Board of Directors to the importance of differentiating between the Central Municipal Council elections and the elections of the parliament, adding that the center has organized a number of events to publicize the municipal council and its elections by organizing a lecture entitled (the first house for Democracy) provided by Engineer Jassim Al-Maliki, Vice President at the Municipal Council on the definition of the municipal council and its terms of reference. Kooheji stressed the importance of this seminar on introducing the basic rights of candidates and voters, pointing to that there shall be a campaign to be conducted next week under the title “hand in hand towards the effective participation of people with visual disabilities in the municipal council elections”.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Faisal Al Kooheji, chairman of the board of director presented the shield of the Center in honor of the NHRC, to Dr. Yousif Obeidan, deputy Chairman of the NHRC, in addition to the certificates of appreciation to Dr. Aisha Al Mannai, Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Hamad bin Khalifa, and Dr. Asmaa Al-Attiyah, a member of the NHRC, and the general coordinator of the seminar.