Qatar’s rights panel calls for parliamentary polls

 08 May 2014 - 3:47


DOHA: Qatar’s human rights watchdog has called on the government to hold parliamentary elections and implement a much-awaited new media law as well as confer citizenship rights on the children of Qatari women married to foreigners.
During a review of human rights situation in UN-member states, including Qatar, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said in Geneva yesterday that delays in enforcing some laws were creating challenges for the country, reports Qatar News Agency (QNA).
These legislations pertain to holding parliamentary elections, regulating the media, regulating the working hours and rights of housemaids and conferring citizenship rights on the children of Qatari women married to foreigners.
The NHRC submitted its report to the Universal Periodical Review meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
According to the report, top on the agenda of the NHRC is improvement of women’s rights.
There are no women’s organisations in Qatar so the government is the only body that is making an effort to improve the condition of women, and that is the biggest challenge, said the NHRC.
The report of the NHRC calls for removing all kinds of discrimination against women and reviewing the family law to provide them with protection against domestic violence.
It also calls for conferring citizenship rights on the children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris.
All women in the country should be treated equally. This is one of the key recommendations of the NHRC, said the report.
It praised Qatar for various laws the country has passed to improve the human rights situation in its territory and describes various efforts made by the state in that regard, including making national health insurance mandatory for all and free health and education for its people.
“Challenges, however, remain as far as labour rights are concerned. 
“We have drafts of many laws (like those of media and election and rights of the children of Qatari women married to foreigners) but they are yet to be enforced and the delay is creating problems,” it said.
Setting up a women’s organisation and making sure that women have adequate representation in parliament and decision-making bodies in the country is a priority of the NHRC, according to its Universal Periodical Review report.
The rights body also calls for issuing a law to regulate the working hours of maids and protect their rights as soon as possible.The Peninsula