The National Human Rights Committee started a series of field visits to a number of penal institutions and places of detention to inspect their compliance with the precautionary measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to meet the human rights standards set forth in international laws and covenants during periods of crisis, in light of the exceptional circumstances in the world due to the spread of the epidemic.
The committee’s field visits team visited the men and women sections of the central prison to monitor the humanitarian conditions of inmates, conducted a general tour, and held private interviews with detainees chosen by the team to obtain the necessary information and data in relation to the measures taken by penal institutions department to protect inmates.
In a statement, Dr. Mohammed Saif Al Kuwari, Deputy Chairman of NHRC and head of the visits and monitoring committee, said that the field visit of the teams of the NHRC comes within the framework of exercising its competence related to monitoring what is raised about the human rights situation in the State, and coordination with the authorities concerned to respond to them, as well as preparing reports related to human rights situation and submitting them to the Council of Ministers along with its views in line with the paragraphs 5 and 6 of the text of Article 3 of Decree Law No. 17 of 2010 organizing the NHRC.
Al Kuwari said that the NHRC aims, through its field visits, to promote and protect human rights, especially for the inmates and detainees groups, and respond to reports in accordance with paragraphs 6 of Article 3 of the above-mentioned law, which provides for monitoring what may be raised about the human rights situation in the state and coordinating with the authorities concerned to respond to them.
Al Kuwari noted that field visits to penal institutions and places of detention also come in response to the reports of various international organizations and United Nations human rights mechanisms that require national human rights institutions to submit reports on the nature of the measures taken by countries to confront the Corona pandemic and their compatibility with international standards.
Dr. Al Kuwari added that the NHRC team will prepare, at the end of its field visits, a report to be submitted to the official authorities in the State and international human rights organizations, including its observations and recommendations on the precautionary measures followed by the State of Qatar to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the penal institutions.