Qatari rights body releases report

The Gulf state of Qatar witnessed a series of human-rights abuses in 2004 ranging from withdrawal of citizenship to torture, a government watchdog said in a report released on Tuesday.

    No major violations of public freedoms have been reported

    In the report, the first of its kind in Qatar, the National Human Rights Committee said there had been no major violations of public freedoms, and praised authorities for responding positively to its recommendations.

    The report said the committee had received 149 complaints in 2004, and identified nine Qataris who were stripped of their citizenship and held as a prelude to deportation "until they regularise their situation".

    It called for speeding up moves to enact a new nationality law that would clearly state conditions leading to the withdrawal of citizenship and enable the courts to oversee such cases.

    Many Qataris, chiefly holders of Saudi nationality, have been stripped of their citizenship in recent years, but the number and causes are in dispute.

    Case of torture

    Members of a tribe most hit by the citizenship-withdrawal measure say as many as 6000 Qataris have been stripped of their citizenship, but unofficial estimates in Qatar put the figure at no more than 2000.

    Speedy enactment of nationality
    laws has been recommended

    The Minister of State for the Interior Shaikh Abd Allah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani decided on Tuesday "to restructure the permanent committee for naturalisation affairs", the official Qatar News Agency reported.

    The rights report also highlighted a case of torture in police custody to force a suspect to confess to a crime, and said the officer involved had been referred to court.

    And it criticised the widespread use of preventive detention by judicial authorities, saying it had sometimes turned into "a harsh punishment".

    The committee, which has set up a website to receive complaints, said that while a number of women were holding senior public-sector posts, "women continue to suffer many forms of discrimination and persecution at the social, economic and family levels".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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