Qatar confirmed that it is moving ahead with its reform approach, which is based on improving human rights conditions as a basis for progress and development, and reiterated its continuous cooperation with the Human Rights Council and its relevant mechanisms, including the special procedures mechanism.
In this regard, Qatar said that it will work to take into account the recommendations and observations made by the special procedures mechanism in line with the human rights obligations arising from the conventions to which the State has acceded.
This came in Qatar's statement during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding its report on its visit to the country. The statement was delivered by HE Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN Office in Geneva Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al Mansouri during the 45th session of the Human Rights Council.
Al-Mansouri said that based on Qatar's firm belief in the importance of work carried out by special procedures holders, it will continue its cooperation with them within the framework of the open invitation it extended to them to visit the country.
In this regard, he pointed out that Qatar received four special procedures holders last years and looks forward to the fifth visit at the end of this year.
He thanked the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for accepting the invitation and visiting Qatar from November 3-14, 2019. His Excellency also appreciated the constructive discussions conducted during the visit, which he considered a valuable opportunity to examine the achievements made in the field of the Group's mandate and the challenges that remain.
He added that the government took note of the recommendations of the Working Group that were presented at the end of its visit to the country, and it is pleased to point out that work is already underway to implement a number of these recommendations, which includes setting the minimum age of criminal responsibility in line with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and continuing the implementation of the MOU between Hamad Medical Corporation and the Ministry of Interior to provide psychological care in places of detention and in society, in addition to continuing the implementation of the strategic plan for training of the Supreme Judiciary Council and the Public Prosecution and enhancing their efficiency, independence and integrity. He stressed that the Qatar will continue its efforts in implementing recommendations related to the promotion and protection of workers' rights in cooperation with the International Labor Organization.
Within the framework of the measures implemented to address and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN Office in Geneva explained that the relevant authorities in Qatar have taken precautionary measures since the start of the crisis. The health and security authorities, he said, have implemented since mid-March a series of measures in the Central Prison to protect prisoners from the risk of infection, as prisoners undergo periodic medical examinations, and a proactive examination to monitor new cases was implemented, in addition to distributing personal protective kits such as masks and sterilizers to all prisoners. His Excellency stressed that sterilization and disinfection are carried out in regular manner.
He added that HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued last April a pardon for more than 500 prisoners, which contributed to reducing the number of prisoners. The decision came in consideration of health and humanitarian conditions in light of current situation related to the coronavirus outbreak.
His Excellency said that while they value the efforts of the Working Group in presenting objective and constructive recommendations, they have noted that the report contains some recommendations that did not take into account the
cultural and religious nature of the state and society.
In this regard, he stressed that there is no unified model that can be considered an ideal model for the interpretation of human rights standards and principles. He also stressed that the existence of acceptable practices in certain societies does not make them ideal practices that should be applied in all countries, adding that this is what was emphasized by the fifth paragraph of Vienna Declaration and Program of Action of 1993.
His Excellency thanked the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for its efforts in preparing the report, which included many positive issues that could support the efforts of Qatar and its obligations in the field of promoting and protecting human rights.
In this regard, His Excellency welcomed the Group's praise for the cooperation it received from the government of Qatar during the visit, and its indication that this visit represents an important model for other countries in the region. He also welcomed the team's praise of the progress made in Qatar and the positive developments represented by Qatar's accession to international human rights instruments, in addition to the existence of multiple monitoring mechanisms over places of detention, the societal approach taken by the State in providing psychological care, and the establishment of the National Human Rights Committee.
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