The UN Human Rights Centre for Southwest Asia and the Arab Region in Doha "will start operating at the beginning of October," Ahmed bin Abd Allah al-Mahmud, state minister for foreign affairs, said on Thursday.


"We decided to host this centre because we care a lot about human rights and about cooperating with the UN and its organisations," he said. 


The centre's objective "is to contribute to the promotion of human rights in Southwest Asia and the Arab region by providing training, documentation, dissemination of information, studies and exchange of experiences", a statement from Qatar's foreign ministry said.


The centre will aim to cooperate with governments to adopt human rights policy frameworks, integrate international standards into domestic legislation, as well as promote the independence and role of national human rights institutions, it said.


Qatar, a close US ally, opened its first-ever conference on human rights in January last year.


In May 2003 the gas-rich state created a national committee on human rights, the first such body in the country.