National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Secretary-General Maryam bint Abdullah al-Attiyah has stressed that the promotion and protection of children’s rights is one of the pillars of the committee’s vision to promote human rights in the State of Qatar.
She said that NHRC will continue to urge the government to enact laws and legislation to protect children from all forms of violations they may face, noting that children have not been free from violations resulting from the blockade of Qatar, due to the discriminatory measures that lead to the violation of their basic rights, especially the forced separation of Qatari children from their parents.
Al-Attiyah also confirmed in a press statement on the occasion of the celebration of the Arab Child Day, which will be marked tomorrow, that Qatar’s legislation paid great attention to the rights of the child.
She pointed out in this context that the domestic legislation has guaranteed the child many rights, as in the permanent constitution of the state, where article 22 states that the state shall provide care for the young and protect them from corruption, exploitation, and the evils of physical, mental and spiritual neglect. The state shall also create circumstances conducive to the development of their abilities in all fields based on a sound education.
She stressed that the law affirms compulsory education, free of charge for all children from the beginning of the primary stage until the end of the preparatory stage or reaching the age of eighteen whichever is earlier, and the one responsible for refraining the child from enrolling without acceptable excuse for compulsory education shall be punished.
The secretary-general stressed that the issue of children’s rights has received great attention in the National Development Strategy 2011-2016, which included sectoral strategies and programs to implement Qatar National Vision 2030.
She appreciated the role played by a number of social institutions to protect the rights of the child and to combat all violations that may be subjected to, such as Qatar Social Work Foundation, centres for protection and social rehabilitation, family counselling and care for orphans, Shafallah Center for persons with disabilities, and other social institutions.
Al-Attiyah pointed to the seriousness of the violations affecting Qatari children as a result of the blockade imposed on the country, expressing regret that the celebration of the Universal Children’s Day coincided with the continuing violations and discriminatory measures of the blockade countries, which did not exclude any category of Qatari society, including children.
She added that these violations against Qatari children, even children from the blockade countries, are no longer hidden because of their deprivation of their basic rights, especially the right to family reunification with their parents, where Qatari children were prevented from travelling and settling with their parents, only because they had Qatari citizenship.
Al-Attiyah said that the arbitrary decision affected infants and deprived them of their parents, while others found themselves victims because blockade countries citizens were forcibly separated from their Qatari husbands or wives.
She called on the blockade countries to stop their violations that did not exclude children, to abide by the international laws and conventions they have ratified in the field of protecting children’s rights, and to implement the resolutions of international organisations and bodies asking them to stop their violations.