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Many Excluded from Running, Voting in First Legislative Elections

(Beirut) – New laws approved in late July 2021 to regulate Qatar’s first legislative elections will effectively disenfranchise thousands of Qataris from voting or running, Human Rights Watch said today. The new laws highlight the country’s…
A Qatari candidate registers to run in the country's upcoming election as a member of its top advisory panel, known as the Shura Council, in the capital Doha, on August 22, 2021.
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Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
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Discriminatory Restrictions Affect Independence to Marry, Study, Work, Travel

(Beirut, March 29, 2021) – Qatar’s discriminatory male guardianship system denies women the right to make many key decisions about their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 94-page report, “‘Everything I Have to Do is…
Women fly a kite in a park next to a body of water
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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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Overcrowding, Unsanitary Conditions Threaten Further Spread

UPDATE: On May 19, 2020, in response to this report, Qatar’s Government Communications Office (GCO) issued a statement confirming the presence of the virus in its central jail. Denying prisoner statements referenced in Human Rights…
Doha Skyline, Qatar.
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Asylum Policy Changes Threaten Eritreans’ Rights

(Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government’s changes to asylum procedures for Eritreans undermines their access to asylum and denies unaccompanied children necessary protection. The Ethiopian authorities should ensure that all Eritreans have…
Eritrean refugee children play within Hitsats refugee camp near the Eritrean boarder, Tigrai region, Ethiopia, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
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(Beirut) – Human Rights Watch joined 28 other organizations today in issuing this statement about the need to unblock Voice Over IP platforms for voice and video internet calls: In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak, we, the…
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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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Positive Steps but Additional Measures Needed

  (Beirut) –  Qatari authorities should ensure that migrant workers receive adequate protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, a coalition of 16 nongovernmental organizations and trade unions said in a letter on March 31, 2020…
Logos of civil society organizations and trade unions.
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Months of Delayed Wages on World Cup-Related Sites

  (New York) – Qatari authorities failed to address an employer’s months of delayed wages to employees despite a 2015 system built to ensure employers paid their employees on time and in full, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Workers walk towards the construction site of the Lusail stadium which will be build for the upcoming 2022 Fifa soccer World Cup during a stadium tour in Doha, Qatar, December 20, 2019.
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Penal Code Amendments a Setback for Freedom of Expression

(Beirut) – Qatar has amended its penal code to restrict further the already-narrow space for free expression by setting criminal penalties for spreading “fake news” online, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendment, introduced…
An image of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on a building in Doha, Qatar.
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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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Migrants, Asylum Seekers, Stateless People Remain Vulnerable

(Beirut) – Migrant workers, asylum seekers, stateless people, and women in Qatar remained susceptible to abuse in 2019 despite new laws and regulations aimed at better protecting human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in its World…
Workers in Katara cultural heritage village in Doha, Qatar.
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Medical Research Concludes Heatstroke Likely Cause

  UPDATE:   In response to this press release, Qatar’s Government Communications Office stated on October 10 that labor inspectors shut down 300 work sites for violating the existing regulations…
A foreign worker climbs scaffolding at the Al-Wakra Stadium that is under construction for the 2022 World Cup, in Doha, Qatar.
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Spurs Dropouts and Exodus by Students, Teachers

(Nairobi) – Eritrea’s use of secondary school to channel students into indefinite government service and its conscription of teachers subjects students and teachers to forced labor and physical abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
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Defy Ban Under Labor Law

  (Beirut) – Hundreds of migrant workers in Qatar went on strike this week to protest what they say are poor working conditions, unpaid and delayed wages, and threats of reduced wages, Human Rights…
Workers leave their construction sites
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Social Media Campaign Draws Attention to the Detention of Ciham Ali Abdu

(Nairobi) – The government of Eritrea has held Ciham Ali Abdu, daughter of the former information minister Ali Abdu Ahmed, in incommunicado detention for over six years, Human Rights Watch said today. Ciham, who turns 22 today, will spend another…
Ciham Ali Abdu
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Implement New Law Providing for Protection

(Beirut) – Qatar authorities are threatening to forcibly expel a Yemeni national without considering his claim for asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. The man is in Qatar with his wife and two young children. The…
Skyline with the skyscrapers in the financial area of Doha, the capital of Qatar. © 2017 Sergi Reboredo/AP Images
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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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Region’s Leaders Should Reverse Repression, Ensure Justice

(Nairobi) – Clear patterns of government repression against peaceful protesters, activists, and journalists emerged across the East and Horn of Africa region during 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019.…