The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Department of Human Rights, has held a panel discussion on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The panel discussion, entitled “Convention on the Rights of the Child and the reality, achievements and priorities for the promotion of children’s rights in the State of Qatar”, was held in co-operation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Doha, and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs and Doha International Family Institute (DIFI).
The event, which was held at the Diplomatic Club, was attended by a number of specialists, experts and officials from various sectors concerned with child and family affairs and legal experts.
In his opening speech, HE the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi, pointed out that the promotion and protection of human rights, including children’s rights, is a strategic choice for Qatar, and it is the backbone of the country’s comprehensive reform policy, of which human development and the protection and promotion of human rights are the top priorities.
He added that this was emphasised in Qatar National Vision 2030, the first National Development Strategy 2011-2016 and the Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022, which included important themes that touch on key human rights issues in the areas of education, health, environment, migrant labour rights, women’s empowerment and children’s rights.
HE al-Hammadi pointed to the Permanent Constitution of Qatar and the provisions related to the family, motherhood and childhood, including what is stipulated in Article 21 that the family is the foundation of society, based on religion, morality and patriotism, and the law shall regulate the means to protect it, strengthen its existence, its ties and preserve maternity, childhood and elderly.
He added that the Permanent Constitution of Qatar and related legislation have guaranteed the right of the child to health, education, social and economic care and comprehensive protection from various forms of violence and exploitation.
The Head of Unicef – Doha Office, Anthony MacDonald, thanked Qatar for its efforts in the promotion and maintenance of the rights of women and children, describing the opening of the Unicef office in Doha as a historic event, and stressing that this is an indication of the distinguished partnership between Qatar and the organisation.
Anthony MacDonald praised the achievements of Qatar in this field, and its national vision 2030 as well as all legislation, laws, initiatives and strategies developed by the country in all sectors, which indicates the importance attached by Qatar to children in particular and the family in general.
He stressed that governments should emulate Qatar’s experience by investing in children to provide them with a decent life, adding that it is difficult to achieve sustainable development without focusing on these values.
In her intervention during the panel discussion, the Head of Human Rights Treaties Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hanadi al-Shafei, addressed the nature and features of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Qatar’s provisions related to the Convention, as well as the achievements of  Qatar in this regard.
She pointed out that the growing international interest in the field of family and children’s rights began with the end of the first World War, and because of its consequences, there is increasing interest in the development of a system to ensure human rights in general and in particular the most vulnerable and needy groups such as children and persons with disabilities and the elderly.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Administrative Development’s Najat Duham al-Abdullah discussed the strategy of the ministry related to children. She also discussed the Qatari family law and highlighted the state’s commitment to families in the legislations they undertake.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s Dr Hamda Hassan al-Sulaiti discussed in detail the guarantees provided by the constitution and the principles of Qatar National Vision 2030 of good education that will guarantee children high quality care regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion, or colour. She noted that education in Qatar focuses on the importance of respecting all cultures.
The Chief Executive of the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) Dr Sharifa al-Emadi addressed during the session the report of the Institute on the welfare of children in GCC States, focusing on the results related to Qatar. She also talked about the role of the Institute in conducting studies and preparing reports that have a role and contribution in the development of legislation and laws to achieve the well-being of the family and children.
The session concluded with remarks from Assistant Director of Programmes and Education at the National Human Rights Committee Aisha al-Hanzab. She addressed the attention given by the Committee to the rights of the child and efforts to ensure the child’s access to all rights in the Constitution and laws.