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Human rights in Qatar are the individual rights of the residents of Qatar.

Qatar is a country located on a small peninsula branching off of the Arabian Peninsula, into the Persian Gulf. It was formerly a British protectorate, and formally announced independence on September 3, 1971. It is an absolute monarchy, led by the Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who came into power after deposing his father while he was in Switzerland. Under Hamad's leadership, Qatar entered a period of rapid liberalization and modernization, within Islamic standards. The country is now known for legalizing alcohol to non-Muslims, and allowing women the right to vote — the first Arab country in the Persian Gulf to do so.[1][2]


Forced labour

According to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, men and women who are offered employment with high salary in Qatar are often given underpaying jobs.[3] The report states that Qatari laws against forced labour are rarely enforced and that labour laws often result in the detention of victims in deportation centers pending the completion of legal proceedings. The report ranks Qatar at Tier-3, which groups countries that do not satisfy the minimum standards of labour rights, or demonstrates resonable effort to comply with them.[4][5]

Like other Persian Gulf nations, Qatar has sponsorship laws, which have been widely criticized as "modern-day slavery."[6]

The Government states that it is doing a good job with regards to human rights[7] and treatment of labourers.

Qatari contracting agency Barwa is building a residential area for labourers known as Barwa Al Baraha (also called Workers City). The project was launched after a recent scandal in Dubai's Labour camps, and aims to provide a reasonable standard of living as defined by the new Human Rights Legislation.[8] The overall cost of the project is estimated at around $1.1 billion and will be an integrated city in the Industrial area of Doha. Along with 4.25 square metres of living space per person, the residential project will provide recreational areas and services for labourers. Phase one of the project is set to be completed at the end of 2008 while all phases will be complete by mid 2010.[9]

Individual rights


Capital Punishment

Qatar retains the death penalty, primarily for espionage,[10] or other threats against national security.[11] Apostasy is also considered a capital offense, but there are no known executions for it.

Gender equality

In 1999, Qatar came to allow women to legally vote and gain senior positions in government.[12][13] The country is still, however, a monarchy, despite major steps towards a ruling council or Republic-style system. There are no laws preventing women from dressing how they like, provided they refrain from being provocative, as is expected of men as well. However modest clothing remains is to be worn for both women and men.

Freedom of religion

Qatar is a Muslim-majority nation, with 76% of its population adhering to Islam.[14] The government uses Sunni law as the basis of its regulations. However, there are various minority religions located in the area, primarily including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Bahá'ís. No foreign missionary groups operate openly in the country but in 2008 the government allowed some churches to conduct mass. In March 2008 the Roman Catholic church “Our Lady of the Rosary” was consecrated in Doha. No bells, crosses or signs are permitted on any church.

Alcohol and other issues

Alcohol consumption is legal in Qatar, but with significant limitations. The few bars are restricted to expensive hotels and nightclubs. Expats in Qatar are eligible to receive liquor permits permitting them to purchase alcohol for personal use through the Qatar Distribution Company.

Alcohol is illegal to be shown and drunk in public. As well Muslims are banned from drinking.

Eating and Drinking during Ramadan

As an Islamic State, eating and drinking in public during ramadan is illegal.

LGBT rights in Qatar

Sodomy between consenting adults in Qatar is illegal, and subject to a sentence of up to five years in prison.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "In Bahrain, Women Run, Women Vote, Women Lose" New York Times
  2. ^ Elbagir, Nima (2007-02-08). "The role of Saudi women". Channel 4. Retrieved 2008-03-25.  Link to the full Channel 4 video report.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Country Narratives — Countries Q through Z". Trafficking in Persons Report. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, United States Department of State. 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  5. ^ "India escapes U.S. list of worst human traffickers". (Washington: Cable News Network). 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 — Qatar (Tier 3)". Refworld. 4 June 2008.,,,,QAT,4562d8cf2,484f9a3732,0.html. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  7. ^ "Qatar: National Human Rights Committee report". Qatar National Human Rights Committee. 2006-05-03. Retrieved 2008-03-25. . According to the source at, the web link “ the unofficial translation by The Peninsula team of the 57-page Arabic text of the report released by the National Human Rights Committee yesterday.”
  8. ^ "Qatar: National Human Rights Committee Support Expats". The Peninsula via 2008-06-18.,2540,2540. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  9. ^ Bowman, D (2008-03-02). "Qatar to build $1.1bn labourer city". (Dubai: ITP Digital Publishing). Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  10. ^ Qatar: Death Penalty, Firas Nassuh Salim Al-Majali | Amnesty International
  11. ^ :: Crusading journalist wins case against Al-Jazeera
  12. ^ "In Bahrain, Women Run, Women Vote, Women Lose" New York Times
  13. ^ Elbagir, Nima (2007-02-08). "The role of Saudi women". Channel 4. Retrieved 2008-03-25.  Link to the full Channel 4 video report.
  14. ^ 2004 Census – CIA World Factbook – Qatar.
  15. ^ Ready, Freda. The Cornell Daily Sun article [1] Retrieved on December 4, 2002


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