• Apr 26, 2014
    Vague provisions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) joint security agreement raise concerns. Member countries could use the agreement to suppress free expression and undermine privacy rights of citizens and residents.
    Press release
  • Jan 21, 2014
    International criticism over serious abuses of migrant workers was focused on Qatar during 2013, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014. The authorities have ignored warnings to reform a legal and regulatory system that facilitates forced labor.
    Press release
  • Dec 18, 2013
    The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should leverage their countries’ collective bargaining power to seek greater protection for their nationals working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
    Press release
  • Nov 17, 2013
    Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should bring their national laws on domestic workers up to the standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention. All six countries should ratify the international treaty promptly.
    Press release
  • Oct 28, 2013
    The Middle East depends heavily on domestic workers but trails other regions in adopting critical reforms to protect their rights, the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and Human Rights Watch said today. The groups released a report assessing progress since the 2011 adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention, a groundbreaking treaty to entitle domestic workers to the same basic rights as other workers.
    Press release
  • Sep 21, 2013
    Jordanian authorities arrested the publisher and chief editor of the Jafra News website on September 17, 2013, for “disturbing relations with a foreign state.” The website had posted a YouTube video allegedly showing a Qatari prince sitting, dancing, and showering with several women.
    Press release
  • Jun 27, 2013
    Burma’s new telecom license winners should make a public commitment to strong human rights policies and broad transparency measures, Human Rights Watch said. Firms should say how they plan to protect users from illegal surveillance and censorship, given the current lack of legal human rights protections in Burmese telecommunications law.
    Press release
  • May 30, 2013
    Qatar should immediately abolish its exit visa requirements, which expose migrant workers to the risk of exploitation and abuse. The exit visa system can prevent foreigners from leaving the country merely on the say-so of a current or former employer. The case of a French professional footballer who is unable to leave Qatar illustrates how the exit visa system can be used against migrant workers in disputes with their employers. Zahir Belounis, who played for the Al Jaish team, is pursuing a claim for unpaid wages in the Qatari courts. He told Human Rights Watch that his former employers have insisted that he drop his claim or they will not issue him the exit visa he must produce to leave Qatar.
    Press release
  • Feb 7, 2013
    Qatar has not delivered on its pledges to improve migrant workers’ rights, Human Rights Watch said today at a news conference in Doha about its World Report 2013. More than two years after it won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, It is high time for Qatar to deliver on its promises for reforms to prevent the trafficking and forced labor of migrant workers, Human Rights Watch said. The Qatar Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022 – the tournament’s quasi-governmental delivery committee – has made encouraging pledges on workers’ rights, but these lack detail. Nor do they mask the failure of the Qatari authorities either to reform exploitative laws, such as the kafala system of sponsorship-based employment and the prohibition on trade unions, or to enforce the prohibition on illegal recruitment fees and the confiscation of passports.
    Press release
  • Dec 4, 2012
    A Qatari court’s life sentence for the poet Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami after a grossly unfair trial flagrantly violates the right to free expression. Putting Ibn al-Deeb on trial badly undermined Qatar’s efforts to present itself as a free speech haven.
    Press release