The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, E Tendayi Achiume, has praised the significant reforms that Qatar has implemented to improve the conditions of low-income migrant workers, noting that more reforms will be undertaken by the State in early 2020.
This came during a press conference held by Achiume on Sunday at the end of a visit to Qatar from November 23 to December 1, during which she met with government officials, academics, representatives of ethnic and religious minorities and international organisations working in the country.
Achiume stressed that positive reforms in nature and magnitude were "extremely important" and appreciated Qatar's pledge to combat racism and appreciated the State's open invitation to the special procedures mechanisms of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
She said that she was impressed by the tremendous reforms implemented by the Qatari government in the laws of citizenship and xenophobia, although it did not address all the problems.
She added that she was pleased with Qatar's commitment to many of these reforms to improve the conditions of low-income earners, which deserves credit.
She also expressed her gratitude to Qatar for inviting her to visit the country and to meet low-income representatives, and the government's co-operation for visiting all the places she wished to visit freely.
During the press conference, the international official noted that Qatar's invitation to visit the country was a testament to the level of commitment of the State to all issues related to this visit.
In that context, she cautioned that other countries were preventing her from visiting.
She noted that many United Nations Special Rapporteurs had visited Qatar and some of them would subsequently visit it, confirming the overall commitment of Qatar to human rights issues, adding that there was a balance between the reforms that had been implemented and the challenges and additional reforms expected to be implemented.
She pointed out that Qatar, through hosting the 2022 World Cup, is investing heavily in a national vision with a global ambition, adding that national vision had responsibilities and obligations for equality and non-discrimination, and more had been done in that regard.
The Special Rapporteur made some observations and recommendations with regard to ensuring and promoting a culture of equality and non-discrimination away from racial and ethnic profiling, as well as with regard to improving working conditions and fulfilling international human rights obligations.
She noted that no country in the world could claim to be completely free of racism and racial discrimination, and appreciated Qatar's pledge to combat and counter all this.
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