Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, said that after more than 30 months, human rights violations are still continuous, stressing that it is unacceptable that the blockading countries continue to plunge families into Political conflict. Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri stressed in his intervention during a session entitled “Preserving human rights in times of crisis”, during the second day of Doha Forum, that the National Human Rights Committee will spare no effort to defend the rights of victims and those affected by the crisis, whatever the fate of the political crisis, pointing out that the National Committee will issue a report next month on the continued violations of the Emirati authorities in total disregard of the ICJ order.
On a question about the committee’s efforts in the light of the blockade crisis and handling of grievances submitted by Qataris, Dr. Al-Marri said: “the National Human Rights Committee monitors human rights violations resulting from the blockade and provide the necessary recommendations and inform the international human rights mechanisms at the United Nations, international organizations and specialized agencies about these violations”.
Al Marri added: “Since the beginning of the Gulf crisis, we have confirmed that states have a sovereign right to cut ties with Qatar, but that they have transcended them to take unilateral, arbitrary measures that amount to collective sanctions and economic aggression. Some of these countries announced that they have addressed some violations, but on the ground the violations are still continuing, especially by the UAE, and we have submitted reports to international bodies in this regard, and we will publish a detailed report on the continuation of their violations, during the next month. We hope that the blockading countries stop plunging families into the conflict and political differences, and I do not know the reason for their insistence to continue these punitive measures.”
Qatar has made numerous reforms to protect workers’ rights
On a question about rights of migrant workers in Qatar, and the laws it issued to improve the conditions of their work and residence conditions, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee said: “There are challenges in the Gulf region regarding the conditions of migrant workers, but there are many measures that have been taken in Qatar. Previously, there were many challenges such as the sponsorship law, delaying salaries, the difficulty of changing the employer, and imposing the exit policy, and that some expatriate workers fell prey to recruitment offices because of obtaining false contracts, and these were the most prominent challenges in the countries of source and destination countries. Our role in the National Human Rights Committee is to protect and promote human rights. Since the establishment of the committee in 2004, we have focused on the issue of workers’ rights, and made recommendations to introduce amendments to laws and legislation, and the government has begun to make determined efforts and reforms to delaying salaries. The Ministry of Labor has established a system to protect wages, where it becomes obligatory for companies to transfer salaries to bank accounts under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor. We have achieved many reforms, and difficulties remain because of companies that left the market, but the majority benefit from the new system. The government also created a fund for migrant workers, canceled the sponsorship system in 2015 and replaced it with a labor law that regulates the relationship between Workers and employers. There are challenges and difficulties that are not related to the State of Qatar, but rather to the country of origin that exports the labor, where workers are deceived by fake contracts, and in order to address this, recruitment centers were established in the countries of origin. The cabinet also approved a draft that will for the first time establish a minimum wage, all of which are measures aimed at overcoming these matters; noting that these efforts are referred to in the report issued by the International Labor Organization in Qatar on the conditions of migrant workers, and our focus in the National Human Rights Committee is on implementing laws in reality.”
A commitment to protect journalists
On the challenges facing freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, the chairman of the National Human Rights Committee said: “Journalists play an important role, and we on the one hand help to protect them through many mechanisms, such as organizing an international conference to defend freedom of expression. On the other hand, there are resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly on protecting Journalists in times of crisis. Next February, we will organize a conference on Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Activists; through these conferences and activities we raise awareness on how we protect the inseparable rights of journalists.”
Role of GANHRI
On the role of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, Dr. Al-Marri-Secretary-General and Vice-President of GANHRI said: “GANHRI includes 110 national institutions established according to the Paris Principles that encourage all governments to establish human rights institutions to promote and protect Human rights in every country, At the same time, these institutions should cooperate with international institutions. the Global Alliance considers the protection of human rights an important indicator for achieving sustainable development in any country. A decision was recently adopted by UN GA to give national institutions the right to work with the United Nations. We can consider Human rights institutions in the middle between government entities and civil society, we work with governmental and non-governmental bodies, human rights organizations, and special rapporteurs because we are independent, and our primary role is to urge and encourage governments to ratify human rights agreements to ensure the compatibility of legislation with international human rights standards. ”