HE the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri said the celebration of National Day is an occasion to affirm the values of loyalty and pride in the homeland, and an opportunity to appreciate all the sacrifices and efforts made by the current and previous leaders, starting with the Founder, to establish the State of Qatar.
In a statement to Qatar News Agency on the occasion of the National Day, HE al-Marri congratulated the State of Qatar, the leadership, the government and the people, led by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on the behalf of the staff of the National Human Rights Committee.
Al-Marri stressed that National Day celebrations are also an occasion to examine achievements made as well as the challenges, adding that "we must emphasise the importance of maintaining the stability and unity of the country and develop it, and this includes the protection of human rights, when talking about accomplishments as this enabled us to make continuous achievements over the years."
He expressed pride in Qatar's achievements in various fields and emphasised the importance of the state's success in preserving its principles, especially with regard to the protection of human rights.
He added: "It is important to take pride in our achievements in various fields, but most importantly we must affirm Qatar's dedication to its positions and principles, especially with regard to defending the rights and freedom of people and the protection of human rights, which are the cornerstone of the stability of any country." He pointed out that no country can maintain its stability and unity without paying attention to human rights, including the right to life, education, health, freedom of opinion and expression and other fundamental rights enshrined in national laws and regulations and various international laws and conventions and in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
The chairman of NHRC emphasised the importance of the role played by citizens and residents together to achieve the renaissance of the homeland and maintain stability and unity in the face of external challenges, especially the blockade. He added that the citizens and residents faced together all violations and punitive measures imposed with the blockade.
"Our message today to every citizen and resident is regarding the need to preserve our unity and stability and move forward in the road of its development, while respecting human rights, without discrimination, exclusion or marginalisation," he said, and called for continuing the pace of reforms and legislation taken by the state to protect human rights, and expressed satisfaction with the reform taken by the government, which included the issuance of decrees No 40 and 41 of 2018 regarding the joining of the State of Qatar to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Those two covenants have the force of law in accordance with article 68 of the Constitution and joining them is a positive indicator of the states' attitude towards human rights as they represent an important international legitimacy that encompasses all human rights provisions in general, he added.
Dr al-Marri also expressed his appreciation of the amendment of some provisions of the law regulating the entry, exit and residence of expatriates in a way that guarantee their rights to exit temporary or finally during the validity of the employment contract without any restrictions, which contributes to the protection of the freedom of movement and travel. "We also note the qualitative leap in establishing the right to residency in the State of Qatar, which is a legislative leap that enhances human rights gains in the State of Qatar. This law will give its beneficiaries a number of rights and privileges, including similar treatment to citizens in a number of areas," al-Marri clarified.
The Chairman of NHRC also welcomed the issuance of Law No 11 of 2018 that regulates political asylum, which is an implementation of Article 58 of the Permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar, which guarantees the right to political asylum, noting that this places the State of Qatar in the forefront in the Gulf region, the Arab region and the Middle East, as this legislation is the first of its kind in the region.
He stressed that the new reforms and laws ratified by the Qatari government respond to the recommendations made to it by the NHRC in its previous annual reports and represent a strong response and support to the Committee in the performance of its tasks in the promotion and protection of human rights in the State of Qatar. He stated that these reforms will also confirm the political will to reform the legislative system to ensure greater freedoms and respect for human rights, which will raise the status of the State of Qatar in the field of human rights protection, in light of the welcome received from the International Labour Organisation and many international human rights organisations.
He continued by saying "as we celebrate Qatar's National Day and the achievements made, we look forward to the government continuing its reform approach through enacting further laws and continuing to amend legislation guaranteeing the protection of human rights with the recommendations of the Committee in its various reports and in line with Qatar's international and regional status.
The Chairman of NHRC concluded by saying "we continue to urge the government to continue with the approach of reforms and the protection of human rights, within the framework of our vision and mission to realise Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Development Strategy 2018-2022. We call on the Qatari government to move forward with its reforms, review the various laws that will ensure that citizens and residents of the State of Qatar benefit from their rights as stipulated in international laws and the UN Human Rights Charter, and continue efforts to consolidate the pillars of the state institutions and the rule of law and human rights."