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Posted On: 16 December 2008 08:42 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Qatar willing to engage with Amnesty: Expert

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Amnesty International has only “limited access” to most Arab countries while investigating and documenting human rights violations in the region, according to an expert from the organisation. Amnesty, the world’s most reputed rights watchdog, has been publishing annual reports about the human rights situation in various Arab countries after extensive research and investigation. “For many decades we have been documenting human rights violations in the region. The response to our reports from Arab governments has been varied. Some are engaging with us while some others react with outright denial of our findings,” said Dr Lamri Chirouf, researcher at Amnesty’s Middle East Programme. He was talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the First Arab Conference on human rights, which concluded here yesterday. “We have access to most Arab countries, though it is limited. Countries like Qatar are willing to talk out the issues with us and listen to our views,” added Chirouf. Asked about Amnesty’s role in the Doha conference, he said, “As a participant we were taking part in the discussions. The conference has given an opportunity for governmental and non-governmental organisations in the region to take on board the concerns raised by Amnesty.” He said Amnesty’s annual reports have clearly identified the human rights issues in the region with country-specific details. Arbitrary arrests and detention without trial, torture, execution, denial of freedom of expression, the harsh living conditions of migrant workers, particularly housemaids, are some of the issues that top the list. “We make independent judgments after thorough research and investigation into individual cases. We receive complaints from families of the victims, lawyers, civil society organisations and others. We have our own strategies while investigating the cases, and they vary according to the challenges posed by each country,” said Chirouf. He said Amnesty had already expressed its concern over the rights violations taking place in the region under the pretext of the “war on terror”. “The war or terror has led to massive arrests of political opponents and suppression of the freedom of expression. In this context we have strongly argued for the rights of the accused to defend themselves and not to be punished without being given a fair trial,” he said. He said the Arab region had been witnessing a significant growth in human rights institutions and civil society organisations. “Dialogue and discussions can lead to positive results,” he added.