Cooperation with human rights councils
First – cooperation with international and regional mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights
Based on the Paris principles, which is the legal reference for the establishment, mandate and role of national institutions for human rights, and pursuant to the provisions of Decree Law No. 17 for the year 2010 on the organization of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), one of the functions of national institutions for human rights is to communicate and cooperate with the United Nations, including the high commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, UN human rights treaty bodies and other international organizations, as well as cooperating and coordinating with regional groups.
Therefore, the National Human Rights Committee since its establishment works on cooperating with the following regional and international mechanisms:
A –UN General Assembly
B – Human Rights Council
C – UN human rights treaty bodies
D – Special Rapporteurs
E – the High Commissioner for Human Rights
F – international organizations for human rights
G – the Arab League and the Arab Charter on Human Rights
A – the UN General Assembly:
– the NHRC participated with a delegation composed of National Institutions for Human Rights in a meeting with the President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in 2012, to request support of the participation of national institutions in the meetings of the General Assembly as observers.
– The NHRC organized an international conference on the “protection of journalists in dangerous situations” in 2012, with the participation of six international and regional organizations concerned with the situation of journalists, including: the International Federation of Journalists, the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Federation of Journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean (FEPALC), the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the Federation of Arab Journalists and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
The conference was followed by a workshop in which a unified proposal and an action plan were developed around the creation and development of international standards and mechanisms to protect journalists during times of internal disturbances and armed conflicts.
The participants submitted their recommendations to the President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly; the most important recommendations focused on developing binding mechanisms on all states for the protection and safety of journalists, and the appointment of a special rapporteur on the protection of journalists from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
B – the Human Rights Council:
The NHRC participated since its establishment in many sessions of the Human Rights Council; one of the most important session is the session of the Universal Periodic Review of the State of Qatar in 2010 in which representatives of the NHRC has given a short oral statement on the most important human rights challenges in Qatar.
One of the functions of national institutions for human rights is to contribute to the preparation of reports that the State should submit to the bodies and committees of the United Nations to implement its obligations under the treaties.
The NHRC participated in 2013 in the preparation of the national Universal Periodic Review (UPR) governmental report and put its views and observations on the report, it also prepared a parallel report to the human rights situation in Qatar and the extent of the State’s obligation to the recommendations made in the previous review.
C – UN human rights treaty bodies:
The NHRC participated since its establishment in the preparation of the government’s national reports submitted to the human rights treaty bodies, through the development of its observations on the report and give its opinion on its content, including:
– The National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
– The National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
– The National Report on the Implementation of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
– The National Report on the Implementation of the Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
– The National Report on the prevention of racial discrimination .
In 2012, The NHRC has submitted parallel reports (shadow reports) to the Committee for the Prevention of Racial Discrimination and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, it also has attended the discussion sessions for these committees, and gave oral statements.
The final report of the Committee Against Racial Discrimination concerning the application of the State of Qatar to the Convention on the Prevention of Racial Discrimination made reference to the positive role of the NHRC and called the government to urge the State to consider the recommendations.
In 2013, the NHRC has submitted a parallel report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and gave oral statements in the discussion session of the report of the state of Qatar in February 2014.
It is worth mentioning that the NHRC endeavored to attend meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, in the scope of the plan of the international coordination committee and The Asia Pacific forum to strengthen the role of national institutions to participate in the meetings of the Commission independently from the government.
D – Special Rapporteurs:
Since June 2010, the State of Qatar initiated to extend open invitations to special procedures mechanisms, whose tasks are undertaken by special rapporteurs.
The NHRC cooperates with the Special Rapporteurs through the questionnaires about the human rights situation in Qatar, including:
– Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
– Survey of the Special Rapporteur against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
– Survey of the Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association
– Survey of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
The NHRC met with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, during her visit to the State of Qatar in January, 2014 .
The NHRC is working with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants to solve problems of workers in Qatar; the Special Rapporteur refers the received complaints to the NHRC that in turn takes the necessary actions to help workers. This cooperation initiated through his visit to the State of Qatar in October 2013 and issuing a report on the situation of migrant workers in which the NHRC is referred to as a body that protects and promotes human rights.
E – the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
The cooperation of the NHRC with the United Nations Center for Training and Documentation in the field of human rights in South-West Asia and the Arab region is considered to be one of the best practices for cooperation with UNHCR, where many projects and joint activities are implemented.
One of the most important projects is developing a questionnaire that aims to measure “Trends in Qatar Society” with regard to women’s rights, work and culture according to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
The NHRC also benefits from the services of the center as follows:
– Providing specialized training courses for the NHRC on the concepts of human rights, with the aim of building human capacity and raise the efficiency of the technical staff.
– Training NHRC employees for 6 months.
– Providing advice and technical support in a number of human rights issues.
– the Center’s experts participated in conferences, seminars, workshops and regional and international training courses set up by the NHRC.
– Most of the regional events organized by the center in Doha were attended by the NHRC, this contributed to further raise the capacity of the NHRC and develop the staff experiences.
The workshop hosted by the Centre to urge the actors in the GCC to implement the recommendations of the UPR and the Workshop on Human Rights Education in Schools in the Gulf Region that calls for actions for the integration of human rights into the curriculum, according to the World Programme for Human Rights from 2010 to 2014 .
In the beginning of the year 2012, The NHRC has also signed a cooperation agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), represented by its regional office in Riyadh; the cooperation resulted in organizing training workshops, most recently in December 2013 on the promotion of the protection of refugees through the framework of international legal and regional human women.
F – the Arab League:
At the level of cooperation with regional mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights, the NHRC has contributed to the preparation of the national report on the implementation of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which was ratified by the state in 2008, It also summited a parallel report to the Charter Committee and attended the discussion of the report independently of the government delegation in April 2013. In addition, It gave an oral statement on the challenges facing Qatar on the application of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Arab Charter on Human Rights.