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Committee on the Rights of the Child reviews the report of Qatar

GENEVA (23 May 2017) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined third and fourth periodic report of Qatar on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 
Introducing the report, Ahmad Hassan Al-Hamadi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said that the rights of children were an absolute priority in all development planning, especially their protection from violence and exploitation, and ensuring their participation in decision-making according to their age, and access to basic services such as health and education.  Educational opportunities had been increased for all children, and the social and economic development of the country had brought about improved standards of living, which also translated into concrete positive outcomes for children.  Family Welfare Units had been established in a number of ministries in 2016 in order to deal with issues relating to women and children, and the protection of children would be further helped by the national policy for strengthening the role of the family in the society which was currently being developed.  Remarkable progress had been achieved in human development and in 2016, the United Nations Development Programme had ranked Qatar first in the Arab region and thirty-third in the world in terms of its Human Development Index.
 
Committee Experts welcomed Qatar’s withdrawal of reservations to the two Optional Protocols on children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and asked when a child rights law and a comprehensive strategy for childhood would be adopted.  Experts were concerned about the inadequate definition of the child in the law, particularly in matters of marriage and juvenile justice: marriage was allowed for girls at the age of 16, criminal responsibility started at the age of seven, and minors above the age of 16 could receive harsh sentences such as life imprisonment, flogging and hard labour.  An issue of deep concern to the Committee was that Qatar still maintained the death penalty for children aged 16 and above for crimes, including espionage and apostasy.  The delegation was asked about actions taken to ensure effective equality between boys and girls in law and in practice and to raise awareness about equal rights of girls among religious and traditional leaders; complaints of torture in detention filed by children and how they were dealt with; and the situation of children with disabilities, especially those in institutions.  Experts expressed concern about abuse and neglect of children and inquired about concrete policies and measures to protect children, including from corporal punishment and from sexual abuse.
 
In his concluding remarks, Jorge Cardona Llorens, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Qatar, noted the need to address the contradictions between the existing laws and the Convention, particularly in criminal issues, and also urged Qatar to urgently address discrimination against girls and discrimination against migrant children in access to education and in freedom of movement. 
 
Mr. Al-Hamadi stressed in his closing remarks the political will and favourable conditions for the implementation of the Convention in Qatar and reiterated the commitment to strengthening the institutions which worked directly on child rights issues, improving coordination and implementing the Committee’s concluding observations.  
 
The delegation of Qatar included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Administrative Development and Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Justice, and the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
 
The Committee will meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon to consider the fifth periodic report of Romania under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/ROU/5).
 
Report

The combined third and fourth periodic report of Qatar under the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be read here: CRC/C/QAT/3-4.
 
Presentation of the Report
 
AHMAD HASSAN AL-HAMADI, Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, introducing the report, said that all relevant bodies in Qatar had cooperated in the drafting of the report, including the national human rights institution and the office for child protection.  The Committee’s concluding observations had been very useful in bringing about the implementation of the Convention in the country, as they had raised awareness about the rights of children among State officials and administrative bodies, which were increasingly aware of the rights enshrined in the Convention.  A comprehensive approach to development by 2030 included important elements of education, health, the environment, the rights of migrants, women and children, and concrete development strategies and plans laid down in terms of desired goals of human and cultural development.  The rights of children were an absolute priority in all development planning, and especially their protection from violence and exploitation, their participation in decision-making according to their age, and their access to basic services such as health and education. 
 
Educational opportunities had been increased for all children, and social and economic development had brought about improved standards of living, which had also translated into concrete positive outcomes for children: 95 per cent of children under the age of 12 months were vaccinated, infant mortality had decreased from 10 deaths per 1,000 in 2000 to 4.6 deaths per 1,000 in 2015.  Mortality rates of children under the age of five had also decreased, while 95 per cent of all Qatari children aged four to six years were in nurseries.  The Constitution defined the obligation of the State to protect everyone from neglect and exploitation, and Qatar had done everything possible to implement the provisions of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, and had withdrawn its reservations to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.  Reservations to several other human rights treaties had been withdrawn as well.  Legislative reform had been undertaken to strengthen child protection.
 
Children’s rights were an important part of several strategies, including on the empowerment of women, strengthening of families, provision of health care services, restructuring of education and training services, and reconsideration of social welfare programmes.  The Family Welfare Unit had been established in a number of ministries in 2016 in order to deal with issues concerning women, children, maternity, and other related issues.  The national policy and plan of action for strengthening the role of the family in the society was being developed and would contribute to the protection of children in the country.  In 2015, the Foundation for Social Action had been created to support civil society organizations, based on the principles of the Qatari Vision 2030 and international human rights treaties.  The Foundation supervised the Social Protection and Rehabilitation Centre, Orphan Centre, Centre for the Empowerment of the Elderly, Social Development Centre, Centre for Persons with Disabilities, and other institutions.  Remarkable progress had been achieved in human development: the United Nations Development Programme had ranked Qatar first in the Arab region and thirty-third in the world in its 2016 Human Development Index.
 
Questions from the Experts
 
JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Qatar, commended Qatar for the progress achieved in the area of the protection and promotion of the rights of the child and asked whether it intended to further strengthen this work by ratifying the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure.
 
During Qatar’s last review by the Committee in 2009, the Committee had urged Qatar in its concluding observations to adopt a comprehensive strategy for childhood; the Qatar Vision 2030, which was in place now, was a general strategy for the whole country which had been drafted from the perspective of the rights of the child.
 
Qatar had spent considerable resources on social protection, but it was not possible to ascertain how much had been invested in child protection.  What were the intentions concerning the audit of the State budget from the child perspective?
 
What were the intentions concerning the development of Qatari standards of corporate social responsibility from a child perspective?
 
With regard to the definition of the child, the Committee Expert inquired whether the marriage act and the penal law would be amended to raise the age of the child from 16 to 18?  What measures were being contemplated to eliminate the discrimination against girls in the age of marriage?
 
What was being done to raise awareness about gender equality and equal rights of girls among religious and traditional leaders, and in the school curricula?  Would the education system be changed to allow girls and boys to attend the same classrooms?
 
The delegation was asked to explain how the principle of the best interest of the child was enshrined in the law and implemented in practice, and how the views of children were listened to in decisions that concerned them.
 
An issue of deep concern for the Committee was that Qatar still maintained the death penalty for children aged 16 and above for crimes, including espionage and apostasy.
 
LUIS PEDERNERA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Qatar, inquired about the position of the Convention in Qatar’s legal system and whether it could be directly invoked in the courts.  Was there a timeframe for the ratification of international human rights treaties?
 
The National Human Rights Commission played an important role in monitoring the human rights situation in the country.  How many complaints for violations of children’s rights had been received and how had they been handled, particularly since the creation of the Special Unit dedicated to women, children and persons with disabilities in 2010.  What financial and human resources were allocated to the Special Unit to enable it to operate independently?
  
What measures were being taken to educate children about their rights?
 
After recent legal amendments, the definition of torture now met international standards.  How many complaints of torture had been received and how were they dealt with?  Were children in detention informed that torture was outlawed by Qatari law?  What compensation and reparations were provided to children who were victims of torture and ill treatment?
 
The Committee Co-Rapporteur noted with concern an increase in the maltreatment of children in Qatar and inquired about concrete policies and measures to protect children and prohibit corporal punishment in all settings.  How many children had been sexually exploited and abused and what care and support had they received?
 
Other Committee Experts inquired about the intentions concerning the withdrawal of reservations that Qatar still maintained to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  What was being done to counter discrimination on the basis of nationality and religion, and to ensure that children of different religions were free to practice freely?
 
The law on nationality still contained discriminatory provisions in terms of the transmission of nationality; what was being done to ensure that the law guaranteed the automatic conferring of nationality to children of Qatari mothers?
 
The Committee was concerned about the abuse and neglect of children and inquired about measures to raise the awareness of the general public and parents about the harmful effects of such behaviour. 
 
Responses by the Delegation
 
In response to questions raised concerning the withdrawal of reservations to different human rights treaties, the delegation explained the revision process and said the general reservation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been withdrawn and that the remaining two reservations were currently being reviewed and should they be found not to contravene Qatari law, they would be withdrawn as well.
 
The Constitution aimed to preserve and protect fundamental freedoms, uphold social and religious values and traditions, and ensure peace and stability in the country.  The Qatari Vision 2030 was based on the Constitution, and it aimed to ensure social justice for all Qataris.  One of its action plans 2017 to 2020 aimed to promote the prosperity of children, give them a dignified existence, and ensure that the best interest of the child prevailed.
 
With regard to the protection of children and their rights, the delegation stressed that this was a cornerstone of human development.  Specific programmes had been developed to this end, particularly in the health and education sectors.  The resources for those two sectors had been increased from 5 per cent of the State budget in 2014 to more than 11 per cent today. 
 
Turning to the age of marriage, the delegation said that the provisions in Qatar were consistent with the provisions of the Convention, and said that the family law stipulated the age of marriage as 18 years of age for boys and 16 years of age for girls, and the law had further stipulated conditions under which a marriage contract was valid, including by the acceptance of the marriage by both parties.
 
Qatar had created a body in charge of the management of the property of minors who were orphans or without legal guardianship, which developed the property on behalf of these minors to ensure that they could enjoy their benefits, and this was a provision to guarantee the best interest of the child.
 
Under the family law, the father was in charge of the protection of the child until the age of work for boys or the age of marriage for girls.  The law also protected the rights of children of unknown parents, by mandating the State with the protection of that child, and it addressed the issue of custody for the children, which in case of divorce was automatically awarded to the mother.
 
The law prohibited dual nationality and defined the conditions under which the nationality could be transmitted by Qatari mothers to their children.
 
The National Human Rights Commission was empowered to make unannounced visits to places of detention at any time.
 
The 1994 law on minors excluded minors under the age of 16 from life sentences and from death sentences.  The criminal law provided that the death penalty could not be handed down to a person under the age of 18 years.  The law provided for the presence of a parent in court cases, the child did not have to appear in court, and all court proceedings were closed.
 
Follow-up Questions and Answers
 
In their follow-up questions, Committee Experts requested the delegation to clarify the law on minors and the applicability of sanctions such as forced labour in prisons or flogging of minors.
 
Responding, the delegation confirmed that the penal code prohibited capital punishment on persons under the age of 18.
 
With regard to the National Human Rights Commission, a Committee Expert asked the delegation to explain to which extent it was accessible to children.
 
The delegation confirmed that the National Human Rights Commission was indeed independent and that its work in the area of the protection of human rights was complemented by the Qatari Foundation for Social Action, which complemented the mission for all those who were under the legal protection of the State of Qatar.
 
The Commission had a 24/7 helpline through which complaints could be lodged.  
 
The child’s rights bill was being developed and all efforts were being deployed to adopt it.  The bill defined the child as any person under the age of 18.
 
In terms of promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, steps were being taken to promote all 17 Sustainable Development Goals among the general public and students, and a booklet had been developed to accompany those efforts.  The activities were being implemented together with the Qatar Foundation for Education and Science.
 
In 2015, a Committee had been formed to develop a plan of action for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on equitable education, which had started off by raising awareness and educating students about the purpose of this goal.  Steps were being taken to align the national education strategy 2017-2023 with the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Turning to questions raised about violence against children, the delegation said that any physical punishment of children in schools was prohibited.  Training was being given to social workers and guidance had been adopted which instructed teachers and social workers in schools on how to deal with students.
 
Questions from the Experts
 
In the second round of questions, LUIS PEDERNERA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Qatar, raised the issue of the family environment and welcomed the adoption of the law that guaranteed maternity leave and also guaranteed two hours of breastfeeding time a day to women returning to work.  Was this law applicable to non-Qatari women as well?
 
The Committee was concerned about the detention of women with children and the detention of pregnant women.  The delegation was asked to provide detailed and disaggregated data about children in prison, and whether the children in prison could challenge the legality of their deprivation of liberty. 
 
Why were migrant women with children imprisoned rather than sent to shelters?
 
The age of criminal responsibility was seven years of age and children above the age of 16 could be given a life sentence, or sentence of forced labour or flogging.  What stood in the way of Qatar to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years of age?  Which alternative measures to detention were applicable to minors?
 
Mr. Pedernera welcomed the commitment of Qatar to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and asked whether its provisions were integrated in the national strategy for children.  What procedures were in place to identify among migrant and refugee children, those who had been involved in hostilities in their country of origin?  What steps were being taken to put together disaggregated information on refugee, migrant or asylum-seeking children who had been involved in armed conflict abroad?  How did Qatar ensure that military guidelines and standard operating procedures were compatible with the provisions of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict?
 
The Committee Rapporteur also inquired about the intentions of Qatar concerning the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
 
JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Qatar, remarked that, according to data provided in the report, only one in 10 children with disabilities was in mainstream education while the others were in specialized schools.  During the 2015-2016 period, the number of institutionalized children had increased two-fold: what measures were being taken to deinstitutionalize all children with disabilities and to avoid their stigmatization.
 
The age of marriage for girls was 16 years, remarked Mr. Cardona Llorens and inquired about measures to stop early marriage, including through raising awareness about harmful effects of this practice among the population and religious and traditional leaders.  What was considered an “early” or “child” marriage in Qatar?
 
Was polygamy still legal in the country and what was being done to raise awareness about the harmful consequences of this practice?
 
With regard to children living with HIV/AIDS, the delegation was asked about policies in place to protect those children and to prevent the spread of the disease.
 
Qatar had claimed in its report that there were no refugees in the country, but there were migrant children.  Could the delegation explain how this was possible, were refugees returned from the border or were other steps taken to prevent refugees and asylum seekers from entering the country?
 
Since 2006, the Committee had been asking Qatar to gather data and undertake an analytical study on the scourges of child trafficking, child prostitution and child exploitation.  What had been done in this regard?  What specific plans were being prepared to prevent child trafficking and prostitution during the upcoming world cup in 2022?
 
Another Expert addressed the issue of adoption and asked the delegation to explain the kafala system that was used in Qatar, namely who made decisions, which criteria were used to select parents, how the placement of the child was monitored, and whether the child was heard in those proceedings.  Was it possible for the child to keep contacts with the biological family during the kafala?

The delegation was then asked about concrete strategies to increase the breastfeeding rate and the results of those measures, and about the situation of breastfeeding in prisons?  Would Qatar decriminalize abortion and what was being done to ensure that adolescents had full and free access to sexual and reproductive health?  What guidelines were in place for the psychiatric interment of adolescents?
 
Committee Experts took note of the remarkable cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of the people living and working in Qatar with their families and, referring to human rights education in schools, asked how such needs of the school children were evaluated, how teachers were trained to deliver the human rights education curricula, and how the impacts of those programmes were assessed. 
 
The delegation was asked a series of questions concerning health, notably the national infant mortality rate and how it accounted for deaths in private clinics, methods used to reach the most remote areas with vaccination, and systems in place for birth registration of refugee and migrant children.  What measures were deployed to protect children from violence, neglect and abuse?
 
Were school textbooks available and school programmes taught in languages of minority children, such as Hindu, Pashtun and other?
 
What was the situation of children living and working in the street?
 
Committee Experts further inquired about the kafala system of sponsorship for migrant workers and whether Qatar intended to change the system.  What was being done to implement the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants to put an end to the detention of migrants and their families?
 
An issue of concern was that the Qatari penal code did not cover all offences under the Convention – trafficking of children was criminalized, but the law did not adequately address the sale of children and child pornography.  What were the rules governing extraterritorial jurisdiction for those offences?
 
Education was free for Qatari children and for children who were nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council States.  What mechanisms were in place to support migrant workers from countries other than the Gulf Cooperation Council in paying school fees for their children?  
 
How was Qatar tackling child obesity?
 
Responses by the Delegation
 
Responding to questions Experts raised in relation to maternity leave, the delegation explained that women were entitled to three months of leave, and longer for twins; in addition, women were accorded two months of leave for nursing. 
 
In case of conflictual parental separation, children were transferred to a social work centre in order to protect the children and ensure their best interests, including through mandated mediation in the conflict between the parents and their eventual reconciliation.  It was important to provide adequate psychological care to children in care, and to adequately monitor custody decisions.  In 2003, the Faqh centre had been established as a private non-profit institution dedicated to finding solutions to family disputes, and to providing services to children without any discrimination on the grounds of sex, nationality, ethnicity or social status.
 
According to the national military service law, only people aged 18 or older were drafted.  The Qatari armed forces were not surrounded by a country in conflict and there was no internal conflict in the country, thus the issue of the involvement of children in armed conflict was not an issue of concern.
 
Foreign women were detained because they violated migration law and therefore they had to leave the country.  While in detention, they received free-of-charge health services, access to a phone and television, family visits and regular visits by representatives of their embassies.  If foreign women could not afford to buy a ticket back to their countries, the Government would bear the cost.  In 2016, over 7,000 tickets had been purchased and 4,000 tickets in the first four months of 2017.
 
A child remained with his or her incarcerated mother until the age of two, and was then transferred to the father, or into a care institution if no family was available.  Mothers were allowed visitation rights three times a week.  If a child was born in prison, that fact would not be captured on the birth certificate.
 
In terms of the allocation of custody in case of separation and divorce, the delegation explained that girls stayed with their mothers until the age of 12 and were then given a choice of the parent they wished to live with; boys were given a choice of parent after the age of seven.  Custody was decided by a judge in accordance with the best interest of the child.
 
The bill on the rights of the child would present a global vision of the rights of the child and ensure that the best interest of the child was respected.  The bill was also expected to raise the age of criminal responsibility.  According to the law, a child was any person under the age of 18. 
 
With regard to punishments of life sentence, flogging and hard labour imposed on children aged 16 to 18 years, the delegation said that those children were detained in juvenile prisons in regions where they lived and were never housed in adult facilities.  It was legal to expose the child to hard labour, but those sentences were no longer executed.
 
A minor was a person under the age of 16; sentences were determined by the penal code and depended on the age of the perpetrator.
 
There were over 50,000 Syrian citizens in Qatar who were treated as guests and not refugees.  They had free access to services, including education, and free accommodation.  Qatar was also involved in a number of initiatives to provide aid to people in conflict abroad, such as Educate our Children to assist poor children in 45 countries around the world to access education – to date, six million children had been sent to school under this initiative.
 
With regard to children with disabilities, the delegation said that there were over 9,800 children with disabilities in the country, and of those 4,498 were girls.  There were 1,097 children with disabilities in public and private schools.  The national strategy for persons with disabilities was in place and it rested on the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on equitable education. 
 
Each school had a psychologist and teachers who had been trained to properly work with children with disabilities.  The schools had been reorganized to make them more accessible to children with disabilities, specialized textbooks and audio-visual technologies had been provided, and specialized wings had been built for recreation.  Support and advice to children with disabilities was being provided by several specialized centres.  Parents of children with disabilities played a crucial role and there were training programmes available to teach them how to interact with their children and how to use the new technologies that were available.
 
Concerning awareness raising about harmful traditional practices, a campaign on early marriage had been launched which targeted secondary school and university students.
 
Since 1999, a total of 338 cases of HIV/AIDS had been recorded in Qatar, and there were very few children among those; in 2016 there had been 18 new transmissions.  Qatar had a comprehensive prevention strategy to address HIV/AIDS which was coordinated with regional efforts.
 
The orphan centre had been created to provide a nurturing environment in which those children could grow up.  Another centre for specific care for marginalized children created a commission for foster services which, among other things, was in charge of selecting foster or placement families.
 
Several schools for migrant children had been set up, for example for Indian, Chinese, Filipino and Pakistani children, where children were taught their national curricula in their national languages.
 
Qatar was keen to ensure gender equality in the country, and its high rank in the Human Development Index was an indication of this commitment.  Gender parity had been achieved in higher education, for example, where female students outnumbered males.
 
There were several awareness raising programmes about road safety which targeted school children, as well as campaigns on friendly relationships between children and traffic police.  Many resources were available online on the website of the relevant ministry.
 
Qatar was very small and there were no remote areas, so birth registration there was not an issue.  Children were registered by the hospitals where they were born and the Citizen Administration issued the birth certificates which contained the names and nationality of the parents.  The law on citizenship defined the rights of children in this regard, and stated that children born in Qatar or outside of Qatar to Qatari parents had the right to nationality.  Children born in Qatar to unknown parents were considered Qatari until proven otherwise.
 
The national nutrition strategy contained measures to prevent child obesity, which started from early childhood: breastfeeding was encouraged, and children received micronutrient supplements, while healthy nutrition and sports and physical activities were promoted.  A Committee on school canteens was in place and it had set up a healthy nutritional programme and identified healthy food and drinks to be distributed in schools.  Violations of this programme were sanctioned.  All products with refined sugar were blacklisted.
 
According to the Constitution, Qatar had to comply with the obligations arising from the ratification of international treaties, which were domesticated by virtue of publishing them in the gazette.  Thus, international treaties – including the Convention and the two Optional Protocols, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict - were part and parcel of the domestic law and could be invoked in court.  Extraterritorial jurisdiction was referred to in terms of piracy at sea, terrorism, and human trafficking.
 
The Doha Centre for Interfaith Dialogues had been set up to foster the culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among various faiths, and there were a number of programmes which were implemented in communities.  Religious communities were protected by the Constitution which fostered the freedom of belief and religion.
 
The Higher Committee for Heritage had been set up to coordinate all matters related to the hosting of the World Cup in 2022, and this included ensuring accessibility to the event sites under the programme called Humanitarian World Cup 2022, for example through building and equipping a room with appropriate equipment and technologies to enable children with disabilities to follow the matches.

With regard to shared custody, the delegation explained that Ifaq Centre and the courts did their best to reconcile couples, especially in cases where housing had to be provided for the woman.  Custody was shared if the woman remained in the family home.
 
There were no child domestic servants in Qatar, but there were new arrivals who worked and Qatar worked in conjunction with their respective embassies to ensure that their rights were protected.
 
Concerning the kafala and sponsorship system for migrant workers, the delegation explained that the kafala system had been abolished and replaced with contracts, which were registered and salary payments had to be arranged by transfers.  The State of Qatar monitored the execution of those contracts, and it deployed labour inspectors and social workers to this end.  Furthermore, a complaint centre had been opened and migrant workers could submit complaints in nine languages there.  Employers had an obligation to register migrant workers with the social security system and open a bank account for them to facilitate the payment of salaries.
 
Companies operating in Qatar had to pay education fees for the children of their workers and also provide them with health services.  The companies were obliged to ensure that children indeed attended the school.  The Qatar University gave four places to each of the 16 embassies operating in Qatar for the higher education of their nationals.
 
The thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice had been held in Qatar in 2015, during which Qatar had raised issues of children and crimes, including the issue of children in detention.  It was preceded by the Doha Youth Forum, in which school children and students from more than 30 countries had taken part, and its recommendations had been presented during the United Nations Crime Congress.
 
Qatar had not acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 
 
Pursuant to the law, a custodial sentence was imposed on all those helping a woman to abort pregnancy without the approval of the State.  Abortion was an offence if deliberately practiced by a doctor.  It was allowed in case of foetal malformation or when pregnancy presented a risk for the mother’s health.
 
Concluding Remarks
 
JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Qatar, welcomed the commitment of Qatar to implement the Committee’s concluding observations and the progress made so far which was also a direct result of the implementation of the 2009 concluding observations.  Qatar was on the verge of adopting the children rights law, which should address contradictions of the existing law with the Convention, particularly in penal matters.  Qatar should urgently address discrimination against girls, as well as discrimination against migrant children in access to education and in freedom of movement.  In order to accelerate the implementation of the concluding observations and recommendations, it was recommended to set up an inter-agency coordination body and Qatar was encouraged not to stop the good progress it was making in pressing ahead in the commitment to protect the rights of the child.
 
AHMAD HASSAN AL-HAMADI, Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, stressed that Qatar had the political will and favourable conditions for the implementation of the Convention and would continue to revise the existing laws until they were entirely in line with the provisions of the Convention.  Furthermore, Qatar would strengthen institutions, which worked directly on child rights issues and would organize further practical training and workshops for all concerned sectors in order to improve the implementation of the Convention and its Optional Protocols.  Qatar hoped that in this endeavour it would enjoy technical support from the United Nations and other stakeholders.  Qatar would implement the concluding observations to strengthen the capacity of the State to implement the provisions of the Convention, and would also improve coordination.
 
RENATE WINTER, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and sent the Committee’s greetings to the children of Qatar.

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