Qaṭar: Woman human rights defender Noof Al-Maadeed faces grave violations of her civil and human rights
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses its grave concern for the safety and well-being of woman human rights defender Noof Al-Maadeed, who returned to her country after assurances from the Qatari authorities that her rights would not be violated.
On 18 March 2023, Al-Maadeed published videos on social media networks, including her Twitter account, which is topped by the following phrase, "The stupid one who returned to her country." The video recordings confirm that she was subjected to widespread violations of her civil and human rights at the hands of the authorities, led by the notorious State security Apparatus, known for its work outside the legal framework and its use of the Qatari judiciary as a tool to target innocent citizens. In these recordings, she appears thin, tearful and tense, and exhibits symptoms of severe depression.
In one of these recordings, she compares the flagrant human rights violations taking place in her country to what is happening in North Korea. In another recording, she calls out to authorities, "If you hate me, why don't you let me go and why take revenge on me?" In a third recording she says, "Now I know why I ran away? Because the place stinks." As for a fourth serious recording, she explains, crying bitterly, how when she asked to lift the travel ban imposed on her, some employees of the State Security Apparatus blackmailed her, asking her to come and meet them, and when she asked them if it was their office, they said, "A second place."
On 06 October 2021, Al-Maadeed published a video on her Instagram account in which she explained the details of her return to the capital, Doha, on 30 September 2021. On 04 August 2020, she spoke in a television interview about how, on 26 November 2019, she had escaped from Qatar to the UK via Ukraine due to the violence she faced from her family and the failure of the authorities to provide her with protection. Upon arriving in the UK, she submitted an application for political asylum, which she withdrew before her return.
Al-Maadeed introduced herself during her stay in Britain as an advocate for Qatari women's rights and explained how male guardianship prevents women from working or traveling without a man’s consent, as well as talking about women victims of domestic violence who were left with little protection.
GCHR calls on the Qatari government to provide sufficient evidence confirming the safety of woman human rights defender Noof Al-Maadeed, and says it must also respect her civil and human rights, including allowing her to leave the country again if she so desires. The State Security Apparatus must stop violating the civil and human rights of innocent citizens, including Al-Maadeed herself.
The Qatari government must end all forms of oppression, discrimination and violence that are still commonly practiced against women, and give women the full opportunity to contribute to building a prosperous future for all members of society in Qatar.