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A/HRC/45/16/Add.2: Visit to Qatar - Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention


30 July 2020

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The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Qatar from 3 to 14 November 2019 at the invitation of the Government. The Working Group commends progress made in Qatar and identifies a number of positive developments, including in relation to the accession by Qatar to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2018, the work of the National Human Rights Committee and the existence of oversight mechanisms monitoring places of deprivation of liberty, as well as the community-based approach taken to psychosocial care. At the same time, the Working Group identifies significant challenges in the criminal justice system with regard to preventing arbitrary detention, such as ensuring prompt presentation of detainees before a judicial authority, guaranteeing detainees access to legal assistance and interpretation during trial proceedings, and excessive reliance on detention before trial. Detention registers in police stations do not contain proper safeguards against the arbitrary deprivation of liberty. A large number of individuals are detained due to inability to repay a debt. State security and counter-terrorism legislation, as well as laws for the protection of the community, allow for unsupervised administrative detention, placing the individual away from judicial protection for prolonged periods. The existing legal framework and practices permit de facto deprivation of liberty by private actors. There is also an urgent need for a significant strengthening of the independence of civil society and the legal profession. Among its recommendations to address issues identified during the visit, the Working Group encourages Qatar to become a party to all the major human rights treaties, and to adopt legislative amendments and specific practices that offer greater protection against arbitrary detention.

Issued By:

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Delivered To:

the Human Rights Council at its 45th session