Qaṭar: Show elections and the total absence of women's voices

03.10.21

On 02 October 2021, elections were held in Qatar to select 30 members of the 45-member Shura Council. The Shura Council does not possess substantive political power as its decisions can easily be overturned by an Emiri decree. A total of 233 candidates competed, of which 101 withdrew their candidacy on election day.

The results, which were announced the evening on which the elections took place, resulted in the victory of 30 of the male candidates. None of the28 female candidates were successful. Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed the massive pressures to which many of the candidates were subjected by influential government forces, including the State Security Bureau. It was this pressure and intimidation that ultimately forced many candidates to withdraw.

These elections take place as 21 citizens who participated in the protests that followed the enactment of discriminatory election laws remain in arbitrary detention. On 19 September 2021, GCHR published a list of their names.

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will appoint the remaining fifteen members of the Shura Council from ministers or others of his choosing.

 For more information on elections and electoral laws, see:

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2809

GCHR is deeply concerned about the complete absence of women's voices in these elections. There is no doubt that the discriminatory and marginal laws ratified by the Emir of Qatar on 29 July 2021 which include: Law No. (6) of 2021 regarding the procedures for the election of the Shura Council; Law No. (7) of 2021 regarding the formation of the Shura Council and its competencies and; Decree No. (37) of 2021 defining the 30 electoral districts on a tribal basis, are the main reason for the marginalization of women in Qatar, as well as other groups of society.

Once again, GCHR calls on the Qatari government to release all detainees in connection with the recent peaceful protests, and to protect public freedoms, especially freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

The Qatari government should amend the three laws to ensure that they do not provide for any discrimination between Qatari citizens, or marginalize different groups of society, especially women, migrant workers and resident migrants, as well as the Bedoon community.