The National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking (NCCHT) marked Tuesday the World Day against Human Trafficking while highlighting and reviewing the achievements of Qatar in this field in the presence of key stakeholders representing local, regional and international organisations.
Speaking on the occasion Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidly, Secretary of NCCHT, stressed that the human trafficking phenomenon is considered a stark breach of the basic rights of man to freedom, security, and human dignity, and it completely contradicts all the principles and rules of religions and human values. He pointed out that this abhorrent phenomenon involves a number of crimes, and demands intensifying international co-operation to combat it.
He said Qatar under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has taken all the necessary measures to protect and enhance human rights and maintain human dignity for all.
“Out of the country’s ethical and legal obligations, being an active member in the international community, Qatar has given great care to fight human trafficking and has not spared any effort to establish the necessary legal and institutional frameworks for this, besides supporting all the related national, regional, and international efforts to combat human trafficking and the related phenomenon such as forced labour, modern slavery and child labour,” al-Obaidly said.
He pointed out that among the legal tools introduced by the country in this regard are Law No. 15 for 2011 on Human Trafficking, Law No. 21 for 2015 that abolished the Kafala (sponsorship) system and Law No. 15 for 2017 concerning domestic workers.
At the institutional level, the country has established NCCHT to unify the efforts of the government organisations and the civil society and follow up the practical steps taken, in addition to adopting care and rehabilitation programmes to help the victims in making speedy integration into the society. He also said that the country has joined various international agreements, conventions and treaties.
Houtan Homayounpour, Head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Project Office in Doha, stressed that Qatar should be proud of what has been achieved in the recent years in reforming the conditions of expatriate workers.
“I must commend the government for their openness to work with such a broad range of partners. It is a sign that we collectively are moving in the right direction,” he said pointing out that many of the elements of the technical cooperation between Qatar government and the ILO involve reducing the risk of trafficking and forced labour.
He said the government has taken many positive measures including the removal of the need for exit permit for the majority of expatriate workers, the promotion of fair recruitment, establishment of Qatar visa centers, the establishment of joint committees, new laws to protect domestic workers and improved monitoring of conditions and the complaints mechanism. He also praised the newly opened the Human Care Centre which provides assistance and protection to victims of trafficking in persons, rehabilitating and integrating them into society, and temporarily hiring them until their departure is ensured.
Ali bin Hassan al-Hammadi, Secretary General of Qatar Red Crescent, pointed out that Qatar has been pioneering in the field of combating human trafficking as the country had established NCCHT, the National Human Rights Committee, the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior, in addition to various legislations and regulations that protect human rights and maintain transparency in the labour market. Further, the country has achieved a lot in improving the mechanism of resolving labour disputes between the employer and the employee. He said that QRC has also been a pioneer in various humanitarian, charity and social works that supported the humanitarian efforts of the government inside and outside Qatar.
Chargé d’affaires of the United States in Qatar William Grant said he is happy to see the collaboration of various entities in the country to protect vulnerable people. He also said Qatar is exerting increasing efforts in cooperation with various organisations to combat the phenomenon of human trafficking. Grant also praised the opening the new Human Care Center as an important step in the protection of the people who have been exploited by traffickers.