Countdown to Human Rights Day
Get inspired by 15-year-old Louiza, who fought for the right to attend school
News Treaty bodies
01 March 2022
01 March 2022
The Committee on Human Rights today concluded its review of the initial periodic report of Qatar on measures taken to implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, with Experts commending legislative revision efforts and asking about the State's stance on the death penalty and capital punishment.
A Committee Expert commended the State party for establishing a committee to review and revise domestic legislation in light of international standards, and for its efforts in harmonizing laws with the Covenant. Did the State party plan to restrict the crimes punishable by the death penalty to "serious crimes" in the sense of article 6.2 of the Covenant? Did the State plan to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty? How many death sentences had been carried out between 2005 and 2019?
Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, in opening remarks said that in the period since its accession to the Covenant in 2018, Qatar had witnessed wide-ranging developments at the legislative, institutional, policy and strategy levels aimed at strengthening human rights protections in the State. Qatar had reformed legislation and institutions protecting migrant workers. It had abolished the sponsorship system, improved working conditions and living conditions for all workers, and created a safe and balanced working environment in accordance with international labour standards.
In the ensuing discussion, the delegation explained that the State had attempted to reform the law on nationality to conform to international standards. Qatari women married to foreigners and their children received the same rights and privileges as Qatari citizens. State legislation was amended periodically to ensure that out-of-date laws were reformed. Capital punishment only applied to a small number of extremely serious crimes. Many guarantees of the Covenant needed to be respected when it came to handing down such a sentence, and it could only be handed down when judges were unanimous. Pregnant women could not be given the death penalty, nor could mothers with children under two years of age. The Emir also had the ability to repeal death sentences. Qatar had never used flogging or stoning sentences, and had repealed a law permitting stoning. Only for a small number of crimes could capital punishment be given, and homosexuality was not one of them.
The delegation of Qatar was comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Human Rights Department, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Health, the Supreme Judiciary Council, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
In concluding remarks, Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, expressed the delegation's gratitude for the Committee's professional and objective review. The State, he said, would take on board the Committee's comments and recommendations, and work to implement them. To achieve universal human rights, he said, Qatar was striving to implement human rights reform and set a positive example.
Photini Pazartzis, Chair of the Committee, acknowledged the significance of Qatar's initial report, and thanked the State party for its frank responses to the many questions posed by Committee Experts. She expressed hope that Qatar would continue to work with the Committee. In closing, she called on the State party to consider a de-facto moratorium on the death penalty, and to sign the Optional Protocol of the Covenant.
The Human Rights Committee will next meet in public on Wednesday, March 2 at 3 p.m. to consider the fifth report of Israel ( CCPR/C/ISR/5 ).
The Committee has before it the initial report of Qatar (CCPR/C/QAT/1).
AHMAD HASSEN AL-HAMMADI, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, expressed his happiness in meeting with the Committee to review the initial report of Qatar. He noted that the report was prepared in challenging circumstances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanked the National Human Rights Commission and the Qatar Foundation for Social Action for their shadow reports. In the period since its accession to the Covenant in 2018, Qatar had witnessed wide-ranging developments at the legislative, institutional, policy and strategy levels aimed at strengthening human rights protections in the State. Qatar had reformed legislation and institutions protecting migrant workers. It had abolished the sponsorship system, improved working conditions and living conditions for all workers, and created a safe and balanced working environment in accordance with international labour standards.
Qatar's National Action Plan for Human Rights had been completed and would be launched soon. The National Commission against Human Trafficking had also been amended, giving law enforcement agencies the power to combat human trafficking. Further, an anti human-trafficking department had been allocated to the Ministry of the Interior. To promote and protect women's rights, the State was providing free legal assistance, psychological rehabilitation, shelter for female victims of violence, and social assistance and salaries for divorced women and widows. The National Committee on Women, Children, the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities had also been established. Laws had also been passed in 2018 granting permanent residence, regulating political asylum, abolishing exit permits for migrant workers, regulating ownership and use of property by foreigners, and establishing a support and insurance fund for migrant workers.
From October 2018 to April 2019, a national campaign on the right to education had been organized as part of UNESCO's campaign to promote and protect the right to education. The first elections to Qatar's Shura Council were held on October 2, 2021, with a turnout of 63.5 per cent. Further, a number of new Ministries had been established, including an independent Ministry for Social Development and the Family, which would support families and raise community awareness of the importance of family protection and cohesion. A Ministry of Labour had also been established, and its mandate was to support workers and protect their rights. A new Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has also been established to introduce measures aiming to protect the environment and reduce emissions causing climate change.
To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar had provided all medical care services to all individuals living on its territory without discrimination, and as of the end of January 2022, Qatar had delivered nearly 6.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 87.4% of the population having received two doses. Electronic and communication devices had been distributed to students to facilitate distance learning. Further, Qatar had developed infrastructure and electronic systems that allowed for remote court litigation. Through its National Vision for Development 2030 and its comprehensive sectoral strategies, Qatar had pursued the Sustainable Development Goals, and had recorded the highest level of women's participation in the region's workforce. Mr Al-Hammadi said that the Committee session was a valuable opportunity to properly assess and analyse Qatar's situation to continuously improve its internal human rights practices.
A Committee Expert thanked the delegation for its cooperation with the work of the Committee, and the Head of Delegation for introducing Qatar's efforts in upholding human rights. The Expert began by asking whether the Covenant was directly applicable in the domestic legal order of the State party, or whether it was applied indirectly through a law which was adopted for dealing with the same issue?
The Expert commended the State party for establishing a committee to review and revise domestic legislation in light of international standards, and for its efforts in harmonizing laws with the Covenant. However, it was not clear whether the Covenant was automatically ranked higher than ordinary laws in the domestic legal order. Would a domestic law become null and void if it conflicted with the State party's obligations under the Covenant? How would the State party respond if domestic law based on Islamic Sharia was found to be in conflict with certain provisions of the Covenant? Could an individual invoke the provisions of the Covenant before a court?
The Expert congratulated the State party on its National Human Rights Committee (National Human Rights Committee) being accredited "A" status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions since 2010, and on being re-accredited in October 2021. However, the Expert noted that the National Human Rights Committee was not sufficiently independent of the government, particularly because the nomination, appointment and dismissal of its members was subject to approval by the Emir, and because it had four representatives of Government Ministries. What measures had the State party taken to ensure the independence of the National Human Rights Committee? Were there measures in place to increase the diversity of members and staff of the National Human Rights Committee in the context of gender, ethnicity or minority status?
The Expert stated that substantially there was little involvement of civil society in formulating the report, and expressed concern over the independence of the Qatar Foundation for Social Action, which had contributed to the report, as it had been founded mainly by the Emir's family members. To what extent did the Qatar Foundation actually reflect the views of civil society, including minorities, the Expert asked? The Expert also asked for more information on the structure, composition and funding of the Qatar Foundation. What steps had the State party taken to promote the free and independent activities of civil society organizations, and strengthen the participations of those organizations in the policy-making process concerning human rights?
Another Committee Expert thanked the delegation for its report, and welcomed seeing female members of the delegation. The Committee Expert noted that in its initial report submitted in August 2019, the State party said that no state of emergency has been declared in Qatar since the adoption of its constitution. Had Qatar declared a state of emergency or other emergency measures to defend the health of its citizens and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic? The Expert also referred to reports saying that an app developed to address COVID-19 posed serious privacy risks exposing sensitive personal details of individuals. Had there been any derogations from the Covenant's rights as a result of measures taken to address COVID-19?
The Expert noted that termination of pregnancy was legal, and that the mortality rate for women in pregnancy and childbirth had fallen over the three years from 2014-2016 to 3.8 per cent for every 100,000 live births. The Expert asked for clarification, however, regarding whether abortion was available to women victims of rape or incest. Why could abortions only be performed in a public hospital by a decision of a medical committee? What measures had the State party adopted to ensure that women and girls had safe, effective access to legal abortion domestically? The State party had said that it had no plans to examine or amend abortion legislation; had it taken into account the 2019 recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women issued to Qatar?
The Expert also asked the delegation for information on the legal framework prohibiting torture. Was the State considering the adoption of any dedicated anti-torture legislation? Had there been any allegations of torture or acts of cruelty from public officials? The Expert asked for disaggregated information about the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions for such acts. Could flogging and stoning still be applied as criminal sanctions under Qatari law and if so, did the State party intend to review such provisions? Was the State party considering adopting legislation explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment of children?
Another Committee Expert congratulated the State party on the steps it had taken to protect the rights of foreigners. However, Qatar's pre-trial detention period was much longer that the one generally established in the Criminal Procedure Code. Did the State party plan to reform that detention period? The Expert also asked for information on the number of individuals arrested and held in pre-trial detention, and on the average length of time they were held before being charged with an offense. The Expert further noted that although the State party said that no sentences of death had been carried out in Qatar since 2005, capital punishment had, in fact, been applied in five cases between 2012 and 2018. How many death sentences had been carried out between 2005 and 2019?
The Expert also expressed concern about the wide range of offences for which capital punishment was a possible penalty in Qatar, including homosexuality. Did the State party plan to restrict the crimes punishable by the death penalty to "serious crimes" in the sense of article 6.2 of the Covenant? Did the State plan to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty?
The delegation responded that the State of Qatar succeeded to the Covenant in 2018. The decree stipulated that the Covenant would be equal to national law, alongside the Constitution within the legislative framework. National legislation was based on the Islamic Sharia law, and national agreements should not be in contradiction with the Islamic Sharia. An article within Qatari law stipulated that international agreements held equal power to domestic law. A judgment had been issued by courts stipulating that any person who had been arbitrarily detained had the right to compensation.
The National Human Rights Committee was independent in accordance with the Paris Principles. There was no financial oversight regarding the administration of the National Human Rights Committee. The Qatar Social Foundation worked under the Qatar Foundation, a State organization, but enjoyed some freedom from it. The Emir's family members had not founded the organization, but they did work as consultants within the organization.
Qatar's health sector strived to achieve the highest standards, and a "Health for All" policy had been adopted that increased the coverage of the health care system and guaranteed health care for all during the COVID-19 pandemic. A state of emergency had not been declared, but work had been done to prevent the spread of COVID-19, increase testing, and develop applications to support citizens. In addition, Qatar had monitored and distributed vaccines, and had reached a vaccination rate of nearly 90 per cent. Freedom of movement had not been restricted, and all measures that had been taken were temporary and did not breach human rights. In response to questions regarding the application confirming that individuals had been vaccinated, it was in no way discriminatory, and the wish of the State was to treat all citizens equally.
Torture was prohibited in Article 14 of the Criminal Code. The law also set out measures taken against torturers. Victims of torture had the right to legal protection. Preventive measures were in place, including the National Human Rights Committee, which monitored prisons and detention facilities and carried out inspections. Since 2015, the department had not detected any instances of torture in prisons. The State had attempted to reform the law on nationality to conform to international standards. Qatari women married to foreigners and their children received the same rights and privileges as Qatari citizens. Certain categories of people, including children of Qatari mothers, could obtain permanent residency.
Another Committee Expert pointed out that non-Qatari spouses and children of Qatari women faced difficulties in obtaining health and education services, and asked the State party how it was ensuring that Qatari non-citizens, as well as persons with disabilities and women in general, enjoyed equal political and social rights. On migrant workers, the Expert asked how the State monitored their working conditions, especially during the pandemic, and protected their rights. What measures were in place to prevent trafficking and violations of workers' rights?
Another Committee Expert asked the State party to elucidate women's access to the labour market. Were women allowed to set up their own businesses? The Expert called on Qatar to review legislation that perpetuated discriminatory stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society. The Expert also noted that Qatari law did not allow women to confer their nationality upon their children and their foreign spouses, and asked about plans to change this. Did Qatar plan to criminalize all forms of gender-based violence against women, including domestic violence and marital rape? Were there plans to encourage reporting of cases of gender-based violence against women and girls? Further, the Expert noted that the outdoor work ban, which prohibited work under the sun from 11.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. between 15 June and 31 August each year, was failing to fully protect workers from heat-related illness. What protective measures were in place for people working outdoors? What measures were in place to punish perpetrators of trafficking in women and girls?
The delegation explained that capital punishment only applied to a small number of extremely serious crimes. Many guarantees of the Covenant needed to be respected when it came to handing down such a sentence, and it could only be handed down when judges were unanimous. Pregnant women could not be given the death penalty, nor could mothers with children under two years of age. The Emir also had the ability to repeal death sentences. Qatar had never used flogging or stoning sentences, and had repealed a law permitting stoning. Only for a small number of crimes could capital punishment be given, and homosexuality was not one of them.
Centres were in place to support people with disabilities and help them assimilate into society. A committee had also been established to support minority groups with disabilities, which examined laws related to people with disabilities to ensure that they conformed to international standards.
All migrants were covered by the law, and enjoyed all rights without discrimination. Migrants were able to leave their employment and the country without the agreement of their current employer. From 2010 to 2020, there were 246,000 workers who had changed jobs through a digital programme. Employers were obliged to pay employees at the beginning of each month, and in cases where companies did not pay, they could be penalized. Decent accommodation needed to be granted to employees, and model towns had been set up for workers. The confiscation of passports was banned, and employers that did so were penalized.
To combat people trafficking, there were mechanisms in place that were carried out in cooperation with civil society organisations. An application had been launched for lodging complaints about abuses of rights at work. Should violence occur, domestic workers had the right to report it. The National Committee for Combatting People Trafficking had been established, and scores of nationwide campaigns had been held to identify and prevent people trafficking. There was also a national centre established for training officials to combat human trafficking. 37 complaints of trafficking had been filed in 2021, and 35 people had been accused of trafficking. A law on domestic workers had also been passed abolishing the kafala system.
The State Government had implemented a law to protect workers from extreme heat, banning outdoor work when the temperature exceeded 32 degrees Celsius. There had been an awareness campaign about the new law, and inspections had been carried out of outdoor workplaces, with some workplaces shut down for not complying with the new law. A yearly report on occupational health and safety incidents had reported 500 fatal cases and 3,000 cases of injuries in 2021. The State had also established training programmes for workplace managers, and was developing rules for inspections. The families of deceased workers could file lawsuits against employers. In 2020, there had been 66 cases of workers' deaths out of 2,400,000 workers, which was a low figure.
Qatar had acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, and was also a member of many ad-hoc committees protecting women's rights. Women were entitled to paid leave if they had a child with a disability, and could receive up to two years of maternity leave. There were female Ministers, female ambassadors, women judges, and female representatives in parliament. Many women had received financial grants to fund small and medium enterprises. Women were also appointed to high positions within the Army. There were no restrictions on women's movement.
A Committee Expert noted that non-governmental organizations needed to obtain a licence to operate in Qatar. How many non-governmental organizations were in operation in the country?
A Committee Expert commended the considerable development in Qatar legislation pertaining to migrant workers and women's rights, yet noted that there were points where the Islamic Sharia was incompatible with the Covenant, such as family law. There were clear contradictions between the instruments, such as equality between men and women, polygamy, freedom of religion, notions pertaining to those who abandon Islam, and abortions outside of wedlock. What was Qatar's position on those matters?
Another Expert asked about incarceration for non-violent acts, such as adultery, same-sex relations, begging, consumption of alcohol and substance abuse. Could the State party to specify which laws underpinned incarceration for those acts? Did the State party plan to decriminalize those acts? The Expert also asked about the recruitment process for judges. How were new judges selected, who selected them, how long were they were appointed for, and could appointments be overturned? Could the delegation provide more information about a Code of Conduct for the judiciary? Had a committee been formed to enforce the code? The Constitution of Qatar stated that freedom of belief was guaranteed, but its penal code also stated that apostasy carried the death penalty. Had that penalty been enforced? How did the State party guarantee freedom of expression? Was there a body in charge of censorship of the media? Did the State party have the authority to limit freedom of expression?
Another Committee Expert asked what measures the State party had adopted to allow abortions and protect women who had abortions? Could Qatar provide information on the minimum penalty for acts of torture? What was the difference between acts of cruelty and acts of torture? The Expert noted the State party's claim that there were no complaints against public officials, yet the Committee had received reports of cases of violence and ill treatment from public officials. What compensation was provided for victims?
While noting that corporal punishment was prohibited for children under 16 years of age, was Qatar considering prohibiting it for all children under 18? Imprisonment was permitted without trial in exceptional circumstances. 200 such individuals had been released recently as a part of COVID-19 prevention measures. Were those releases permanent or temporary? The Expert also welcomed the construction of new prisons to prevent overcrowding. Were those prisons ready to take in prisoners to alleviate overcrowding in Doha prison? Had the State party been considering alternatives to imprisonment to reduce overcrowding?
A Committee Expert commended the Act on Refugees Rights, which allowed for free passage and protected refugees' rights to maintain family unity and conduct other activities such as working and studying in Qatar. How many refugees had the State accepted since the Act was passed? How had the State party determined refugees' place of residence, and supported them in finding housing? How had the State party protected refugees' right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly? The Expert raised concerns about the scope of eligible voters in elections. Naturalized citizens had been excluded from elections, as had their children and grandchildren. Why was the right to vote limited to original citizens, and what were Qatar's plans to extent the right to vote to naturalized elections? Why could women not win a seat in the Shura Council elections, and what measures were in place to support female representation?
According to a report from a non-governmental organization, freedom of expression was restricted in Qatar through a law that prohibited "biased publishing". Travel bans were also in place for people with certain political opinions. How did the State party ensure that these strict parameters did not curtail citizens' rights? Conversely, how did the State party combat fake news?
The Committee had been informed that around 100 migrant workers working on construction of World Cup stadiums had worked for up to seven months without pay. What had the State party done to secure pay for these workers?
Another Committee Expert noted that the maximum period of detention while awaiting trial was six months, which could be extended. Reports alleged that that provision was in place to prolong the period of detention without trial, in some cases for years. What steps had Qatar taken or planned to revise the period of pre-trial detention? How many people were currently detained without trial? What alternative custodial measures had been attempted?
The Expert noted that the Law on Juveniles stated that juveniles aged 14 to 16 who committed capital punishment offenses should be given another punishment. Were there plans to change that?
Another Expert commended legislation penalizing employers who violated the rights of workers, and asked how many employers had been penalized on the basis of that legislation.
The delegation stated that migrant workers made up about three quarters of Qatar's population. Qatar was firmly intending to implement the Covenant, but there were sections of domestic law that needed to be amended to ensure that it was in line with the Covenant. There was no contradiction between Sharia and the Covenant regarding the articles that Qatar had accepted, the delegation said. Qatar had raised issue with articles of the Covenant permitting homosexuality and abortion. Sharia was the supreme source of legislation, and the State party needed time to review domestic law related to those issues.
Regarding prison overcrowding, the Emir had pardoned 200 prisons permanently to alleviate overcrowding, and the State was working on tackling the issue. It had provided necessary equipment to deal with COVID-19 pandemic cases in prisons. Rights were granted to political refugees ensuring freedom of movement, and their place of residence was determined so authorities could provide them with appropriate protections. There had been 89 requests for employment for asylum seekers in 2022. Government Ministries and the National Human Rights Committee reviewed all requests for asylum.
Qatari legislation stipulated that judges in Qatar were independent. Judges were appointed by the Emir, and chosen by a special committee of high-ranking judges. Judges were required to not have any record of misdemeanors, and to be over 25 years of age. Judges also needed to have a certain level of education and have gone through three years of training. The Code of Conduct for the Supreme Judiciary Council promoted the integrity and impartiality of judges, and to ensure that justice was carried out. The Code of Conduct referenced the Covenant, and had been translated into the United Nations languages.
The delegation stated that churches and non-Islam religious facilities were built in specific places to protect worshippers. People were free to convert between religions, and no one had been deported for conversion.
Qatar's response to the COVID-19 pandemic followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization, and all measures taken were in line with national law and were taken in the best interests of its citizens. Qatar had not enforced a lockdown, and Qatar Airways had continued flights during the pandemic.
In 2021, a number of employers had been sanctioned for violations of workers' rights, such as falsification of visas, five cases of rape of employees, and six cases of ill-treatment of domestic workers. The State had renewed its cooperation agreement with the International Labour Organization, and had signed Memorandums of Understanding with various Western countries regarding protections of migrant workers' rights. In 2021, 246,000 workers were able to change their employers. 484 employers were sanctioned for holding their employees' passports. 14,000 labour complaints were settled by the courts, and 5,000 were referred to labour committees. Companies which could no longer pay employees whose rights had been violated were provided with funds from the Government, to be paid back by the employer. 3,000 employers had been fined for late payments to employees. In 2021, 5,677 awareness campaigns were organized regarding labour laws. The State monitored the rights of all workers, including those working on World Cup construction projects, and employees who had not been paid could file a complaint with the State.
Flogging of minors was prohibited; that punishment was only applied to adults. There was no criminal responsibility for children below seven years old. Children between ages seven and 14 who committed offenses were subject to some criminal responsibility, and were referred to correctional facilities. They were not issued with fines. The death penalty was not enforced on children below age 16. Judgments issued against children were not listed on the child's file.
Non-settlement of a debt would not lead to imprisonment, the delegation explained. Pre-trial detention was not applied for simple crimes, but was applied in cases of terrorism. It was an exceptional condition, and trials should take place within a period of six months. The length of pre-trial detention was deducted from the sentence.
There were 45 members of Qatar's Shura Council, and the State wanted 30 members to be directly elected. There were also appointments of women, including the Vice-President. There were weaknesses in the right to vote, but there was commitment toward ensuring that areas of weakness were remedied, and the rights of all citizens were protected. The participation rate in elections was 63.7 per cent, and nearly half of participants were women.
Civil society organizations were free to operate, and there were no restrictions on their establishment. There were currently about 30 such organizations in Qatar, and applications for the establishment of such organizations were duly considered. Trade unions could be established within any company. State committees reviewed trade unions' composition, and ensured that they truly reflected the views of employees.
Qatar's initial report had presented the State's goal of introducing a new Children's Code that would raise the age of adulthood when it came to State penalties to 18; however, changes in Government Ministries had slowed the progress of that reform. State legislation was amended periodically to ensure that out-of-date laws were reformed.
A Committee Expert noted that the Emir had expressed wishes to extend the right to vote to all citizens. Did Qatar intend to follow through with that reform?
Another Committee Expert asked for statistics regarding the number of people held in pre-trial detention. Did those people have access to a lawyer? Would the State party consider a moratorium on the death penalty?
What happened when a judge infringed on the Code of Conduct? Was apostasy considered a crime, and what was the penalty for it? Were there mechanisms to ensure journalists' freedom of expression?
The delegation explained that expanding the right to vote was being considered seriously. In response to questions about pre-trial detention, courts could make a ruling on the issue of pre-trial detention within four days. The State had reduced the number of times the death penalty was imposed, with it being issued on five occasions in the past decade in very serious cases only.
AHMAD HASSEN AL-HAMMADI, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, expressed the delegation's gratitude for the Committee's professional and objective review. The State, he said, would take on board the Committee's comments and recommendations, and work to implement them. The review showed Qatar's commitment to improving human rights, and the State would continue to work with the Committee toward that aim. To achieve universal human rights, Qatar was striving to implement human rights reform and set a positive example.
PHOTINI PAZARTZIS, Chair of the Committee, acknowledged the significance of the initial report, and thanked the State party for its frank responses to the many questions posed by Committee Experts. She called on State party to consider a de-facto moratorium on the death penalty, and to sign the Second Optional Protocol of the Covenant. She closed by welcoming written responses from the delegation and wished them a safe return to Qatar.
Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the information media;
not an official record. English and French versions of our releases are different as they are the product of two separate coverage teams that work independently.