New York-based rights group to raise sponsorship issue

February 07, 2013 - 2:50:28 am


DOHA: New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has raised the issue of Qatar’s sponsorship and exit permit system in its latest World Report, is holding a news briefing here this morning on this as well as issued related to foreign workers in the country.

Contacted on the phone late last evening, an official of the rights watchdog said a news conference had been lined up at Radisson Blu Hotel this morning. She refused to give her name and asked if they had sought formal permission from Qatari authorities to hold the media briefing, she said: “I have no idea”. 

Jan Egeland, Europe director and deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch, Nicholas McGeehan, Middle East researcher, and Tamara Alrifai, Middle East advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, will be addressing the news briefing.

The officials will be presenting the World Report 2013 of Human Rights Watch at the news conference and will be fielding questions on the chapter on Qatar.

Their report on Qatar talks about Qatar’s sponsorship and exit permit rules and says they are very restrictive, and raises concerns over women’s rights, talking particularly of Qatari women married to foreigners not enjoying the right to obtain citizenship for their husbands and children. 

“Such rights are, though, available to Qatari men married to foreigners,” rues the Human Rights Watch report on Qatar.

This newspaper tried to contact Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) on February 4 to seek its reaction to the observations of the US-based rights watchdog. 

The committee has also raised the sponsorship system in their previous report and has asserted that it is fighting for the rights of Qatari women married to foreigners.

An interview was fixed with the head of legal affairs department of the National Human Rights Committee on the morning of February 5. 

However, when this newspaper’s reporter reached his office at the appointed time, he was turned back by his personal secretary and asked to email questions first. 

The email is to be sent to the office of the chairman of the National Human Rights Committee.

The Peninsula