Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Law No. 13 from 2004 established The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities (QACA), which monitors all charitable activity in and outside of Qatar. Only officially registered organizations can collect and disperse money for charitable purposes. There are five officially registered charities in Qatar: Qatar Charity, the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association, the Qatari Red Crescent, the Jassim Bin Jaber Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association, and Reach Out to Asia (ROTA). Two additional charities are in the process of being registered. The Secretary General of the Authority approves all international fund transfers by the charities. The Authority reports to the cabinet via the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and has primary responsibility for monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects that were previously under the oversight of several government agencies. The IMF assessment found that domestic measures to prevent abuse of nonprofits go beyond FATF recommendations, and the QACA appears to ensure effective implementation of the requirements in place.
"....However, Article 24 of the law establishing the Authority allows the Emir to grant an exemption from QACA oversight to any organization at any time."This would seem to set the stage for circumstances that jibe with the quote in the story about how "most" of Qatar's charities are regulated by the government, the exceptions of course being those that The Big Fella does not want regulated.
The additional absence of Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities, which was recently dissolved after gaining prominence in the Arab and Muslim world, also raised several eyebrows. It was particularly surprising to participants from the GCC, namely the delegations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE....While some Gulf states are currently awaiting decisions approving the establishment of independent supervisory and regulatory work of assemblies and civil society institutions in their home countries in the forthcoming days, current news regarding Qatar’s dissolution of the Qatari Authority and distribution of its duties was met with astonishment. It is somewhat similar to a setback since Qatar is regarded as a leader in the region.....Through the amendment of the Act a few days ago, the amount of capital required for the establishment of associations and private institutions was increased to a minimum of 10 million riyals, as well as the dissolution of the body responsible for planning, developing , and activating the role of civil society institutions, transferring its responsibilities to a mere department, rather than transforming it into a comprehensive, independent sector, otherwise known in today’s world as the Third Sector.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.
There were no reports that government officials employed torture.
Some prisons and detention centers, conditions did not meet international standards.
There were no reports of arbitrary arrest or detention.The law empowers the minister of interior to detain a defendant for crimes related to national security, honor, or impudence.The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, but the emir, based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, appoints all judges. They hold their positions at his discretion.
The law provides defendants the presumption of innocence; in practice, those charged with a crime carry the burden of disproving at trial the charge against them.Although there are no separate Shari'a courts, the application of Shari'a denied women equal status in certain civil proceedings.
The judiciary is not impartial and independent in practice, and judgments tend to favor citizens.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press in accordance with the law, but the government limited these rights in practice.
Journalists and publishers continued to self-censor due to political and economic pressures when reporting on government policies or material deemed hostile to Islam, the ruling family, and relations with neighboring states
Although the seven daily newspapers are not state owned, owners are members of the ruling family or have close ties to government officials.
Al Jazeera and the government claimed that the channel was independent and free of government influence, but the government exercised editorial and programmatic control of the channel through funding and selection of the station's management.
The government restricted the peaceful expression of views via the Internet and censored the Internet for political, religious, and pornographic content through a proxy server, which monitored and blocked Web sites, e-mail, and chat rooms through the state-owned Internet service provider.
Adherents of other faiths may privately practice their religion without harassment.
Criminal law provides for prison terms of up to 10 years for individuals proselytizing for any religion other than Islam on behalf of an organization, society, or foundation.
Converting to another religion from Islam is technically a capital offense, but there were no executions or other punishments handed down or carried out for such an act during the year.
Christmas decorations were on display in many public places, including shopping malls and in the common areas of housing compounds. Such decorations were available for sale at stores throughout Doha.
In a January 9 sermon on Al-Jazeera, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for killing Jews "down to the very last one."
The government severely restricted in-country movement and foreign travel for noncitizens.Unlike previous years, local shopping malls did not prevent groups of foreign workers from entering entertainment areas in Doha on weekends and during certain periods designated as "family times."
The government occasionally revoked citizenship or passports for political reasons, thereby restricting freedom of movement.
According to the UNHCR, there were approximately 1,500 Bidoons (stateless Arabs with residency ties) in the country. They suffered discrimination based upon their lack of nationality. They were unable to register for such services as education and health care.
The constitution does not provide citizens the right to peacefully change their government through elections.
The influence of family and tribal traditions was strong, and the government did not permit political parties or opposition groups.
Nearly 50 percent of the fewer than 50,000 eligible voters participated.Approximately 75 percent of citizens could not vote in the 2007 municipal elections, as this right was limited to families who were in the country prior to 1930.The law forbids formation of and membership in political parties.
During the year local newspapers reported that a number of senior officials in various ministries had been dismissed for using their offices for personal gain but offered no details.
No international NGO or international organization focusing on human rights or humanitarian issues was resident in the country, with the exception of a major Western labor organization, which in March placed a representative in Doha to work on labor rights issues.Although the influence of traditional attitudes and roles continued to limit women's participation in politics, women served in public office as president of the Permanent Election Committee, head of the General Authority for Health, vice president of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) with ministerial rank, head of the General Authority for Museums, and president of Qatar University.In practice, custom heavily influenced government enforcement of nondiscrimination laws, and legal, cultural, and institutional discrimination existed against women, noncitizens, and foreign workers.The legal system allows leniency for a man found guilty of committing a so-called "honor" crime against a woman for perceived immodesty or deviant behavior. There were no reports of honor crimes during the year.
In cases involving financial transactions, the testimony of two women equals that of one man, but courts routinely evaluated evidence according to the overall credibility of the witness and the testimony being offered, and not on the basis of gender.The government provides for the welfare of citizen children, but not noncitizen children. The government funds free public education (elementary through university) and health care for citizensProvisions of the Sponsorship Law create conditions that can lead to forced labor activities and slave-like conditions.
The country was a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation
Men and women from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East travel to the country as laborers and domestic servants but often subsequently face conditions of forced labor and physical and sexual exploitation.
Most victims traveled legally to the country by means of recruiting agencies in their home countries but faced conditions of forced labor and trafficking after they reached the country.Some workers were recruited for jobs in the country but then were abandoned by their recruiters upon arrival or by employers after the work was completed, making them even more vulnerable to trafficking.During the year no antitrafficking or related cases against employers or labor recruitment agencies were prosecuted, and there was no indication that the government assisted with international investigations or that it extradited citizens who were accused of trafficking in other countries.Although there was no evidence of institutional involvement by government bodies or officials, some officials may own or operate companies that subject their employees to forced labor conditions.
Noncitizens were required to pay for health care, electricity, water, and education (services provided without charge to citizens).
The law prohibits same-sex relations between men but is silent concerning same-sex relations between women.Under the criminal law, a man convicted of having sexual relations with another man or boy younger than 16 is subject to a sentence of life in prison. A man convicted of having sexual relations with another man older than 16 is subject to a sentence of seven years in prison under section 285 of the criminal law.
The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. However, there were reports that such practices occurred. Foreign workers in many cases worked under circumstances that constituted forced labor. These conditions were found primarily in the construction and domestic labor sectors.
There is no minimum wage stipulated by law. The average wage of noncitizen workers did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family.Government offices and major private sector companies adhered to this law; it was often not observed with respect to unskilled laborers and domestic and personal employees, the majority of whom were foreigners. Many such workers frequently worked seven days a week and more than 12 hours a day with few or no holidays, no overtime pay, and no effective means to redress grievances.The rights of noncitizen workers continued to be severely restricted. Some employers mistreated foreign domestic servants, predominantly those from South Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, by withholding wages or paying wages late. Some cases involved rape and physical abuse.
Another foreign embassy received between 50 and 60 complaints a day, including sexual harassment, delay and nonpayment of salaries, forced labor, contract switching, withholding of passports, poor accommodations, nonrepatriation, termination and deportation without cause, physical torture or torment, overwork, imprisonment, and mistreatment.
Diplomatic representatives visited labor camps and found most unskilled foreign laborers living in cramped, dirty, and hazardous conditions, often without running water, electricity, or adequate food.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
"Muslim tents" are erected in all cities during Ramadan by Muslim charitable institutions and public entities, to offer believers, especially those who are not wealthy, a measure of comfort, cultural activities and religious homilies. Food and drinks, obviously non-alcoholic, are offered only during iftar time, that is, the "breaking of the fast", which allows Muslim believers to replenish after dawn, or during suhur, breakfast before the sun rises. According to official data, during the month of Ramadan, 126,000 people use the services of "Muslim tents".
The "diabolical tents" are entirely different. In these, big hotels offer a luxurious environment for food, music and entertainment, including belly dancers and fortune tellers to predict the future.
One preacher said: "They are places of depravation, worse than heresy", and those who run them "even if they earn good money, are doomed to perish." He added: "These tents are a phenomenon foreign to Qatar's tradition. The true representatives of our legacy are cultural and preaching ones that try to resist this foreign invasion." However he admits that sometimes, religious homilies are "boring", so that they end up by pushing people towards "diabolical tents".
Qatar Interior Ministry ramps up efforts "to catch beggars who take advantage of the holy month."
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Just before Congress adjourned for the August recess, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) introduced this legislation (pasted below) thanking Qatar for providing $100 M in assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The picture above is taken from the Qatar Katrina Fund website which elaborates on how the Qatari gift has been used.
111th CONGRESS 2d Session H. CON. RES. 313 Expressing thanks to the people of Qatar for their assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 30, 2010
Mr. BAIRD (for himself, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. BOUSTANY, Mr. CAO, Mr. DAVIS of Tennessee, and Mr. SCALISE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Expressing thanks to the people of Qatar for their assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Whereas the people of the Gulf Coast region of the United States were devastated by Hurricane Katrina; and
Whereas the people of Qatar provided $100,000,000 in direct assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina for projects not funded by other sources, focusing on housing, health care, and education: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress expresses thanks to the people of Qatar for their generosity to the people of the Gulf Coast region of the United States.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
$300,000 horse headed to Qatar.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
While Qatar and the United States cooperated on some counterterrorism issues, the United States continued to strive for increased cooperation – and particularly information sharing – with the Qatari government. There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005 suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack at an amateur theater playhouse that killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities continued to improve during and after the investigation of this case. Press reports indicated that up to 19 people of various nationalities, including one Qatari, were apprehended during the ensuing investigation. There were no reports of criminal prosecution in the case; however, many of the third country nationals who were apprehended were deported subsequent to the investigation.
The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities was responsible for overseeing all domestic and international charitable activities, including approving international fund transfers by charities and monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects. The Authority reports annually to Qatari government ministries on their oversight and humanitarian activities.
Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorist finance continued to develop. Qatar’s Financial Information Unit (FIU) resides in the Qatar Central Bank. Local banks worked with the Central Bank and the FIU on counterterrorist finance and anti-money laundering issues.
Qatar was one of two countries in the Gulf with an attorney general independent of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Justice and equivalent to a ministerial level position. The Attorney General independently controlled and oversaw public prosecutions and appointed attorneys within the Public Prosecutors Office.
The United States provided law enforcement and counterterrorism training under various programs. Exchanges and training have had helped sustain a good relationship with Qatari law enforcement agencies and improved their counterterrorism capabilities.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
"We have engaged in regular consultations with representatives from the Government of the State of Qatar to advise on the Darfur Peace Process. We have also periodically met with tribal leaders from throughout Darfur to nurture unity among them and assist in the development of political, economic and security goals to be sought in the Darfur Peace Process."
(1) This Washington Post article reports that McFarlane discussed Sudan with National Security Advisor James Jones and Gration sometime during '09; we find no mention of Jones in any of McFarlane's disclosures and no mention of any contact with US government officials prior to December 2009, though it's possible that the meeting occurred before McFarlane entered into a contractt with Qatar contract.(2) The White House flickr feed shows McFarlane meeting with President Obama and Jones in March 2010. From what we can tell, one is not obligated to report contacts with US officials if their foreign client work is not discussed.
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- ▼ August (26)