OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
4-22 March 2002
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination*
1. The Committee considered the ninth, tenth, eleventh and
twelfth periodic reports of Qatar, submitted as one document
(CERD/C/360/Add.1), at its 1503rd and 1504th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1503
and 1504), held on 8 and 11 March 2002, and adopted the
following concluding observations at its 1518th meeting
(CERD/C/SR.1518), held on 20 March 2002.
2. The Committee welcomes the report submitted by the State
party and the additional information provided by the delegation
of Qatar in its oral presentation. It is pleased to have
resumed a dialogue with the State party, which was interrupted
after 1993 when the Committee examined the eighth periodic
report of Qatar.
3. The Committee wishes to emphasize, however, that the
report submitted is not entirely consistent with its guidelines.
It notes that the State party has not submitted general
information in the first part of the report, or in a core
document. Equally, the report contains insufficient information
on how the Convention is applied in practice.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the political reforms on which
the State party has embarked, and notes in particular the
review of legislation on civil liberties, the lifting of
censorship on the printed media, the first elections to
the Central Municipal Council, conducted with universal
and equal suffrage in 1999, and the announcement of the
forthcoming establishment of an elected parliament.
5. The Committee also notes with satisfaction that the State
party has established a committee to draft a permanent constitution.
It notes in particular the information from the delegation
of Qatar that all sectors of society are represented in
6. The Committee welcomes the State party's declared intention
to ratify in the near future the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on
the involvement of children in armed conflict.
7. The Committee welcomes the assurance by the delegation
of Qatar that it will forward to the competent governmental
authorities the Committee's suggestion that the State party
ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the
Convention adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth
Meeting of States Parties, and should make the declaration
provided for in article 14 of the Convention.
C. Concerns and recommendations
8. The Committee again expresses its concern over the repeated
affirmations by the State party that it has no need to take
action to implement articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Convention
because there is no racial discrimination in Qatar. It wishes
to point out that States parties are required under the
Convention to take legislative, judicial, administrative
and other measures to give effect to its provisions, even
in the apparent absence of racism.
9. While noting that the Provisional Constitution, as
well as provisions of the Islamic Shariah, the principal
of Qatar legislation, prohibit acts of racial discrimination,
the Committee is of the opinion that the mere statement
of the general principle of non-discrimination in the
is not a sufficient response to the requirements of the
Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party
adopt legislation that meets the requirements of articles
2, 3 and 4 of the Convention. In this connection, the
draws attention to its general recommendations I, II,
VII and XV, and emphasizes the preventive value of legislation
expressly prohibiting racial discrimination and racist
that the next periodic report of the State party will
describe the progress made in this respect.
10. As regards the right to equal treatment before the courts,
the Committee takes note of the details provided by the
delegation on the judicial reforms under way with a view
to the establishment of a single jurisdiction for the enforcement
of new legislation in areas including civil, commercial
and penal law. It would like to know whether, given the
current state of legislation, non-citizens and non-Muslims
who suffer discrimination and who are entitled to
bring proceedings before a civil court can also bring their
cases before the Islamic Shariah courts. The Committee also
wishes to know to what extent the Convention can be invoked
before the civil and Shariah courts, and what rules of the
Shariah answer to the requirements of the Convention. It
wishes to receive more information about the relationship
between the Provisional Constitution of 1972, in particular
article 9 guaranteeing equality before the law, and the
principles of Shariah as a source of law.
11. The Committee notes the information provided by the
delegation on the conditions governing the acquisition of
the nationality of Qatar. It is nonetheless concerned at
the distinction made in article 3 of Act No. 3/1963, as
amended by Act No. 3/1969, between nationals of Arab countries
and others as regards the length of time they must reside
in Qatar before they can submit an application for naturalization.
The Committee requests the State party to consider the possibility
of modifying this provision in order to conform to article
5 (d) (iii) of the Convention. It wishes also to receive
more information regarding modalities for the acquisition
of nationality for children of mixed marriages.
12. The Committee notes with concern the distinction drawn
between citizens by birth and naturalized citizens as regards
access to public office and other kinds of employment, as
well as the right to vote and to stand for election. The
Committee believes that the supplementary conditions attached
to the exercise of these rights by naturalized citizens
are not consistent with article 5 (c) and (e) (i) of the
Convention. It recommends that the State party bring its
legislation into line with article 5 of the Convention.
It also requests that the next periodic report of the State
party provide information on the number of naturalized persons
in Qatar and their nationalities before naturalization.
13. Concern was expressed that marriage between nationals
of Qatar and foreigners is subject to prior approval by
the Minister of the Interior. The Committee requests the
State party to explain in its next periodic report the reason
for such a restriction on the right to marry and choose
one's spouse, and would like to have further information
on the scope of this restriction.
14. The Committee also notes with concern that the State
party does not appear to guarantee freedom of marriage between
nationals and non-nationals unless the latter are nationals
of States members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Such
a distinction, based upon national origin, does not, in
the Committee's view, appear to be consistent with article
5 (d) (iv) of the Convention.
15. The Committee notes that the State party's legislation
does not, in principle, allow members of different religions
to inherit from each other; it has learned from the delegation's
explanations, however, that a Muslim can draw up a will
in favour of a non-Muslim. The Committee emphasizes that
such a situation should not result in certain categories
of people being excluded from the right to inherit, given
the requirements of article 5 (d) (iv) of the Convention.
The Committee asks the State party to include fuller information
on this subject in its next report.
16. Members of the Committee noted that foreigners leaving
the territory of the State party must present a guarantee
or a certificate. The Committee wishes to know whether this
requirement extends to all foreigners.
17. The Committee notes that, as a general rule, foreigners
are not permitted to own real estate in Qatar, except within
certain limits. The Committee would like to receive more
information about these limits.
18. On the subject of education, the Committee notes with
satisfaction the existence of numerous schools run by foreign
nationals, which follow varying curricula. In this regard,
the Committee requests that the next report provide more
information on the extent and nature of the Minister of
Education's supervision of the curricula in these schools
and how the integration of these schools into the national
school system is sought.
19. The Committee recommends that the State party institute
training programmes on human rights and understanding among
ethnic groups for law enforcement officials, including policemen,
military and prison staff, and members of the judiciary.
20. While noting with satisfaction that minorities are entitled
to practise their religious rites, the Committee wishes
to receive further information regarding limitations on
this right, based on respect for public order or Islamic
21. The Committee has taken careful note of the assurances
by the State party delegation that the law guarantees all
workers equal status. It wishes, however, to obtain further
information on the practical implementation of this principle,
particularly given the high proportion of migrant workers
in Qatar. The Committee requests the State party to include
in its next periodic report statistics disaggregated by
migrants' national origin, which would provide a better
understanding of the economic and social standing of non-nationals
of Qatar in relation to their national and ethnic origins.
22. The Committee requests the State party to include in
its next periodic report information on progress made in
establishing a national human rights institution, and further
details of the intended membership, mandate and status of
that institution. In this connection, it draws the attention
of the State party to the Paris Principles annexed to General
Assembly resolution 48/134.
23. The Committee recommends that the State party take into
account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and
Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in
the domestic legal order, in particular in respect of articles
2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in its next
periodic report information on action plans or other measures
taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme
of Action at national level.
24. The Committee recommends that the text of the Convention
and its own concluding observations be disseminated as widely
as possible. It notes with satisfaction the delegation's
statement that the Al-Jezira television network of Qatar
could play an important role in publicizing the Convention
and the work of the Committee within the Arab world.
25. The State party is invited to include in its next periodic
report specific information on the composition of the population,
including its ethnic and demographic characteristics.
26. The Committee recommends that the State party submit
its thirteenth periodic report together with the fourteenth
report, due on 21 August 2003, as an updated report responding
to all the points raised in these concluding observations.
* Please note that the symbol CERD/C/Session No./CO/… will
from now on replace the previous symbol CERD/C/304/Add…