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2019. 16 Aug The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief sent a message to the Government of Qatar. The letter brought forth allegations concerning the discriminatory treatment of the Bahá'í religious minority in Qatar, specifically involving deportations, blacklisting, the inability to build a cemetery, and issues with personal legal status.

The Special Rapporteurs’ letter also discussed the restrictions on the construction of a Bahá’í cemetery on land that was granted by the Municipality of Doha. This cemetery has been an ongoing issue since 2009, when authorities broke into the cemetery, exhumed the remains, and relocated them on the instructions of the Doha Municipality. This caused many families emotional stress and has led to the inability to identify some remains. Later that year, the Minister of the Municipality did eventually apologize and stated that new land would be allocated. In 2010 and 2015 new locations were identified and budgets were allocated, however despite regular follow up from the Bahá’í community, there has been no construction and no progress made.

Additionally, the Allegation Letter addressed the difficulties the Bahá’í community faces in upholding their personal legal status. Qatari authorities do not recognize Bahá’í documents like marriage licenses, divorces, or inheritance papers unless they have been attested to or obtained abroad. This requires extensive and expensive travel that delays and complicates legal obligations. An attempt has been made by the Bahá’í community to have the Ministry of Justice accept and authenticate Bahá’í documents, however the Minister has not decided on the matter.

The government of Qatar did not respond. [ Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain website]

Qatar Persecution, Qatar
2021. 15 Mar Bahá'í International Community in Geneva released a video statement addressed to the UN Human Rights Council to respond to developments in Qatar. Over the past several years, a number of Bahá’í individuals and families in Qatar have been blacklisted solely because of their adherence to the Bahá’í Faith. This has resulted in the deportation of several of these individuals from the country leaving many stateless as some Bahá'í families have been in the country for four generations, pre-dating the formation of the state itself. As well, residency permits of non-Qatari Bahá'ís have also been denied, or not renewed, despite their employers or sponsors supporting them to remain in the country. This pattern of deportation is tantamount to religious cleansing and more recently, they seem to be targeting the Bahá'í leadership.

The Bahá'í community of Qatar and the BIC have previously raised these cases with Qatari officials and Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee. The authorities have alleged without evidence to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomats, who had raised concerns, that these cases are unrelated to each other and had each been a national security concern. [BIC Video Statement; BIC News 31Mar21]

Qatar Persecution, Qatar
2022. 20 Apr The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance issued a statement noting “with grave concern the increased pattern of repression and discrimination against members of the Bahá'í community” in some countries around the world. The statement is the first time the Alliance, also known as IRFBA, has made a direct intervention on challenges facing Bahá'í communities as a result of religious prejudice. Specific countries where Bahá'ís are persecuted or discriminated against were not named in the statement but the description of the challenges made it clear that the statement was written in support of the Bahá'í communities in Iran, Qatar and Yemen. [Statement on Bahá'ís] Iran; Yemen; Qatar The International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance; IRFBA; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar

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