A team of UN experts which visited Qatar recently has praised the efforts of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), and considered its establishment in 2002 as an important step in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) also called on the government to co-operate proactively, especially with regard to the implementation of NHRC's recommendations.
Releasing a report on their visit to Qatar, WGAD praised Qatar's invitation to the team to provide them with a tour of several facilities and assisting them in their work.
Elina Steinerte and Roland Adjovi, members of the team, said at a press conference on Thursday that Qatar's decision to invite the WGAD represents an important model for the countries of the region, where it has not received a similar positive response to its requests for visits.
"The quick acceptance of the Qatari government is a tangible expression of Qatar's commitment to respect and protect human rights and the team highly appreciates this and appreciates the co-operation it has received during the visit," Steinerte said.
She also thanked the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs for facilitating this visit.
The WGAD team also described Qatar's recent accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as a major achievement, and stressed the importance of implementation of the ICCPR.
The WGAD report praised some of Qatar's policies on detention, such as the approach used in HMC's mental health services that prioritises personal freedom rather than institutional care and seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding psycho-social disabilities.
The report also commended the approach used by the authorities in criminal justice systems, such as taking into account the time spent in detention when implementing the sentence in compliance with Qatar's obligations under international humanitarian laws.
The WGAD team presented its observations on the legal system relating to detention, noting there was a need to review the system of concepts to ensure that everyone had the right to personal liberty and to be protected from arbitrary detention.
The report also called for immediate action to ensure that the provisions of the ICCPR, to which Qatar is a party, are fully reflected in the domestic legal system.
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