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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 Rapporteur's 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 to the Special Rapporteur's letter. [ 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
2021. 29 Apr A sentence was issued against a Qatar citizen and a Bahá'í, Remy Rowhani, on charges linked to his religious beliefs after a secret hearing was held in his absence. No evidence had been presented at any time to substantiate the charges against Mr Rowhani. To then issue a prison sentence and fine in absentia was contrary to due process and was further evidence of an official policy of discrimination against the Bahá'ís. [The European Times 11 June 2022] Qatar Persecution, Qatar; Remy Rowhani
2022. 11 Mar The release of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Rights of persons belonging to religious or belief minorities in situations of conflict or insecurity at the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The annex of the report said that concerns regarding the Bahá'ís "have persisted and even escalated across several country contexts". Dr Ahmed Shaheed's report illustrated the situations faced by Bahá'ís in Iran and in Yemen where they lack legal recognition and the discrimination as well as in Qatar they have experienced administrative deportations and in Tunisia where the government has refused to recognize the Faith. [Iranwire71448] Geneva Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Yemen; Persecution, Qatar; Persecution, Tunisia
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
2022. 22 May A story carried by The Sunday Telegraph in London and written by the law firm representing Remi Rouhani in Qatar's highest court against an unjust conviction, alleged that the Qatari authorities discriminated against him because of his Faith. He was a Bahá'í citizen of Qatar and the former director of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is believed that Mr Rouhani's case may serve as a bellwether for Qatar's intention regarding the Bahá'í Faith and other religious minorities. [The Sunday Telegraph 22May2022] Qatar Persecution, Qatar
2022. 15 Sep Just weeks before the World Cup was scheduled to begin, the Bahá'í communities of nine countries delivered a letter addressed to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, expressing their concerns at the discrimination, restrictions, and human rights violations that Bahá'ís in Qatar have experienced for decades, and asking him to intervene in the situation. The letters were delivered by hand by representatives of the Bahá'í communities of Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to the Embassies of Qatar in their respective countries. [Global News Wire; BIC News 24 October 2022] Qatar Persecution, Qatar
2023. 3 Oct The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the OHCHR filed its report on Qatar. One Committee Expert expressed grave concerns about reports of discrimination of religious minorities, notably against persons belonging to the Baha'i religious community, which was not recognised and denied registration in Qatar. Members of the Baha'i minority had been subjected to administrative deportation and blacklisting, resulting in loss of employment and familial separation.

Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation,Hend Bint Abalrahman Al-Muftah, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations office in Geneva, and head of delegation, responded by stating that "The State did not consider religion when determining whether to provide residency or not, the delegation said. No person of Baha'i faith or other faiths were deported unless they unlawfully stayed in Qatar." [OHCHR website]

Qatar Persecution, Qatar
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