Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced discriminatory restrictions on “male guardianship” that “severely” restrict women’s rights and affect independence to marry, study, work and travel in Qatar.
In a report released on Monday, the organization analyzes the official standards and practices of male guardianship to determine that Qatari women must seek permission from their male guardianship to marry, study abroad on state scholarships, work in many public professions to travel abroad up to a certain age. and receive some forms of reproductive health care.
In addition, this discriminatory system also denies women the right to be the guardians of their children even if they are divorced and have custody.
Human Rights Watch recalls that these restrictions violate both the Constitution of Qatar and international law.
They have also recorded how some hotels prohibit single Qatari women under 30 from renting a room without being accompanied by a male relative while they are forbidden from attending certain events and from entering places where alcohol is served .
Qatari women “have broken barriers and made significant advances in areas such as education, but they still have to overcome state-imposed male guardianship rules that limit their ability to live full, productive and independent lives,” she lamented Leading women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, Rothna Begum.
This male guardianship “strengthens the power and control that men have over women’s lives and decisions and can encourage or incite violence, leaving women with few opportunities to escape abuse from their families and husbands,” he added .
Not only Qatari women are subject to this system, but also foreign women who are dependent on their husbands or fathers as sponsors of their visas are subject to controls that are comparable to male guardianship. Women need their visa sponsor’s permission to get a driver’s license, work, or receive a government scholarship to study in the country.
The Qatari government has responded to HRW with a letter denying that women need permission from men to perform the above measures, despite the organization’s investigations, which include interviews and document review, such as: B. Requests for permission from schools and workplaces for tutors’ permission contradict government claims.
In this context, “Qatar is failing to apply the rules of male guardianship to women and is lagging behind when it comes to neighboring countries where they were previously at the forefront in some cases,” Begum said.
“Qatar must remove all discriminatory norms against women, publish these changes, pass laws against discrimination and ensure that women have the civil space to claim their rights,” said the researcher.