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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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Flout Child Protection, Immigration Rules

(Paris) – French police summarily expel dozens of unaccompanied children to Italy each month in violation of French and international law, Human Rights Watch said today. To enable the returns, the police frequently record on official documents…
A member of the French border police checks identity documents in March 2021 at the Menton-Garavan station, the first French train station for those travelling between Genoa, in Italy, and Nice, in France.
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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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Parliamentary Committee Should Endorse Key Amendments

(Milan) – The Italian parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee should endorse certain key amendments to draft immigration legislation, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendments would abolish sanctions on rescue ships, reject the concept of “…
Men aboard the Sea-Watch 4, a nongovernmental rescue ship, rejoice on September 1, 2020, as they learn that they have permission to disembark in Palermo, Sicily, the next day.
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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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States Should Allow Rescue Boats to Land, While Protecting Health

(Milan) – European governments’ actions to close their ports to people rescued at sea puts lives at risk and cannot be justified on public health grounds, Human Rights Watch said today. The imperative to protect the right to health in a…
Crew work seen on the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, operated by German charity Sea Eye.
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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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Health Risks and International Law Require Safer Alternatives

(Brussels) – People in immigration detention in European countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. “While entire societies learn to live under…
Women in the Ponte Galeria immigration detention center near Rome, Italy May 6, 2017.
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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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As Abuse Is Known, Material Assistance Makes Rome Complicit

(Milan) – The Italian government should suspend all support to the Libyan Coast Guard until Libya commits to a clear plan to fully respect migrants’ safety and rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The plan should include closing…
Photo released by the Libyan Coast Guard showing people disembarking in Libya after being intercepted offshore, June 24, 2018.
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Draconian Migration Measures Put Lives, Rights at Risk

  (Milan) – Italy’s Democratic Party-Five Star Movement coalition government should revoke anti-asylum and anti-rescue measures held over from the previous government, Human Rights Watch said today. The government is expected to propose…
Migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship "Eleonore" as it seaches for a safe port in the Mediterranean.
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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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Failing Diplomatic Talks Show Need for a Different Path

(Geneva) – Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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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.