Govt to ratify UN convention on women

By Anwar Elshamy –

QATAR is expected to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) soon, according to an adviser at the National Human Rights Committee.

Ahmed Fuad Gad Allah, speaking on the sidelines of a Doha workshop on the enforcement of international conventions-related laws, said that both the Cabinet and the Advisory Council were discussing the convention in preparation for ratifying it.
“Qatar seeks to ratify most of the international conventions. The Cabinet Council and Advisory Council are putting the finishing touches before Qatar can ratify the (women’s) convention,” he said.
The UN special Rapporteur on violence against women, Yakin Erturk, participating in a seminar organised by the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development last year, had appealed to the government to ratify the convention, saying that there was a growing awareness on the issue in Qatar.
The seminar, which was hosted by Qatar in November 2008, was the first major meeting to support UN chief Ban Ki-Moon’s campaign to end violence against women.
States that have ratified or acceded to the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women are legally bound to put its provisions into practice. They are committed to submit national reports, at least every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.
A total of 185 countries are party to the convention.
Gad Allah yesterday said the two councils were also discussing the reservations Qatar had earlier expressed about the convention on the rights of child.
He said the workshop targeted the police, the public prosecution and judges who are all in charge of law enforcement.
“Raising awareness on the human rights is not an easy process. It is complicated because it deals with the dignity of human being. This workshop is part of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) agenda for this year to educate those who are in charge of legal enforcement in Qatar on international conventions ratified by Qatar,” he added.
Dr Mokhallad al-Tarawna, a professor of international law at the Qatar University’s college of Law, said protection of human rights was no longer an issue of national concern alone as it had been in the past.
“Human rights now are part of the obligations of the international community because these rights are acquired by people to protect their human dignity and freedom.”
He said that Islamic teachings had laid down principles to ensure the rights of children.
“Islam has prohibited abortion to protect the life of foetus, and also ordained men to choose the right wife who will be able to raise good children.”
Dr al-Tarawna said the Qatari constitution was guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its establishment of the state of law.
The five-day workshop will bring together experts from state departments to discuss various topics, mainly the human rights international law, the universal declaration of human rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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