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As World Cup Draws Closer, Government Yet to Meet Key Reform Promises

(Beirut) – Qatari authorities’ efforts to protect migrant workers’ right to accurate and timely wages have largely proven unsuccessful, Human Rights Watch said in a report and an accompanying video released today. Despite a handful of reforms in…
Migrant workers in Qatar represent about 95 per cent of the country’s labor force. These workers are building the country’s infrastructure, hotels, and stadiums, and powering its service sector. 
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Unwarranted Amid Health Risks, Global Travel Restrictions

(Beirut) – People in immigration detention in Gulf countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid health risks and global travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A worker rests at his accommodation in Qadisiya labor camp, Saudi Arabia August 17, 2016.
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But Domestic Workers Will Have to Notify Employers Before Leaving

  (Beirut)—Qatar announced on January 16, 2020 that most migrant workers previously prevented from leaving the country without their employer’s permission, including domestic workers, will no longer need an exit permit, Human Rights Watch…
A picture taken on December 4, 2018, shows workers at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor, a city in northeastern Qatar. © 2018 David Harding/AFP
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Court Holds Government Failed to Consider Violations in Yemen

(London) – The Court of Appeal in London ruled on June 20, 2019 that the United Kingdom government’s refusal to consider Saudi Arabia’s laws-of-war violations in Yemen before licensing arms sales was unlawful, Human Rights Watch said…
Destruction at the location of an air strike at Radfan Ceramics Factory, west of Sanaa, Yemen, on September 23, 2015.
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Important Measures, but Fall Short of Promises, Obligations

(Beirut) – Qatar made some important progress on human rights in 2018 but failed to deliver on several key promised reforms, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. Among the promises not yet kept is the full repeal of the…
A picture taken on December 4, 2018, shows workers at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor, a city in northeastern Qatar. © 2018 David Harding/AFP
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(Beirut) – Qatar should enact further reforms on working hours, a safe working environment, inspections, and recruitment fees to protect migrant domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Law No. 15 on service workers…
Illustration of a domestic worker exploited in Oman.
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Poor Record of Coalition and Houthi Indiscriminate Attacks and Aid Restrictions

(Beirut) – All parties to the conflict in Yemen should minimize civilian harm during military operations against the western port city of Hodeida, Human Rights Watch said today. The Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, and…
Imports sit destroyed in a damaged warehouse at the port in Hodeida city, Yemen. © November 2016 Kristine Beckerle / Human Rights Watch
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But Rejects Major Protections for Women, Migrant Workers

    (Beirut) – Qatar submitted documents to the United Nations on May 21, 2018, to join two core human rights treaties, following cabinet approval on March 14, Human Rights Watch said today. But Qatar’s accession to the International…
© 2018 United Nations
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“If you want to go back [home], you have to pay back the money we spent to bring you here.” “Atiya Z.” (not her real name) and I were sitting under a veranda, shaded from the hot sun in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, when…
Employment visa from Oman in the passport of a former Tanzanian domestic worker. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Lack of Transparency Underscores Need for International Inquiry

  (Beirut) – Members of the Saudi-led coalition have sought to avoid international legal liability by refusing to provide information on their role in alleged unlawful airstrikes in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. In 2017, Human…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Sanaa on August 25, 2017, killing at least 16 civilians, including seven children, and wounding another 17, including eight children. After an international outcry, the coalition admitted to
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Needs Enforcement Mechanisms

(Beirut) – Qatar’s adoption of a new law on domestic workers provides labor rights for domestic workers for the first time, Human Rights Watch said today. Qatari authorities should enact strong enforcement policies and close loopholes that place domestic…
A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City.
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By reforming its nationality law, ratifying the Refugee Convention and joining the ICC, Qatar can become a model state in the region - and protect itself from attack

The age-old adage that finds opportunity in every crisis is truer than ever in Qatar today. No doubt the Qatar government is under intense pressure from its once-brotherly neighbours, led by Saudi Arabia. Yet it can take some…
A road sign is seen near Abu Samra border crossing to Saudi Arabia, Qatar June 12, 2017.
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Working up to 18 hours per day for weeks without breaks or a day off. Being paid little, or not at all. Locked in their employers’ home, fed food scraps, their passports confiscated. These abuses can amount to modern slavery as defined by the United…
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The fighting in Yemen over the past year has been unimaginably grim – yet has largely gone unnoticed. At least 2,000 civilians have been killed since March 2015, according to the United Nations human rights office – the majority of them in…
yemen attack site sanaa
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This week, British MPs face a simple choice. They must decide if it is right that a woman who flees abuse should become an undocumented migrant just because she runs away. Women like Joycelyn, a young Filipino mother who was brought to London from the…