Egypt State Information Service (SIS)
Due to severe restrictions: Qatar has no Civil Society
Monday، 19 October 2020 - 01:32 PM
A Study by the State Information Service
The Qatari regime considers NGOs and associations as mere tools that it can exploit in order to meddle in the affairs of other countries. This comes in the form of funding extremist organizations and shady associations.
This Qatari interference did not only took place in various Arab and Islamic countries ... but it extended to Europe and the West too.
On the other hand, the rulers of Qatar have placed huge restrictions on the Qatari people’s right to freedom of association, and actually made it practically impossible to establish an independent Nongovernmental Organization.
Qatar basically knows no other active NGO than the Qatar Foundation and its actually run by the government which doesn’t really make it an NGO. The Emir and his entourage use this foundation to spread chaos and extremist all over the world to the extent that the name Qatar Foundation has become synonymous with terrorism.
This study by prepared by the State Information Service reveals the crippling restrictions imposed by Qatari laws on the right to freedom of association and it reveals as well the true colors of the repressive Qatari regime that stifles their people’s right to form NGOs without remorse or shame.
Attempting to register an Association…. An adventure that ends in rejection
At an age where responsible governments facilitate the regulations of registering an association through obliging the founders to only notify the competent authorities, the Qatari regime arbitrarily imposes stiff regulations through article 8 of law No. 12 of the year that requires applicants to submit a request for permit to the Minister that also has to be approved the Prime Minister. The government may approve or reject such a request within a month and if the government does not respond to the request it entails rejection thus placing unnecessary restrictions to form associations.
Appealing to the oppressor
The Qatari legislator allowed citizens wishing to form a civil association to appeal the rejection before the same minister who issued it, according to the second paragraph of Article (7) of law No. 12. Which defeats the purpose of submitting an appeal in the first place.
Associations may be disbanded on the whim of the authorities
Article 27 of the law prevents associations from investing their funds as they see fit without the approval of the government. Article 35 of the same law gives the government the power to disband an NGO if it loses 20 members or violates law No.12 or engages in any activities that are deemed political.
The government may also suspend an NGO’s board of trustees for a whole year and appoint a temporary board of their choice to administer it.
If you engage in civil society activities you may pay a fine or go to jail
The Qatari legislator did find the repressive arsenal of provisions in its criminal code as he placed arbitrary penalties in law No. 12 to restrict freedom of association. According to article 43 of this law anyone who runs an unregistered NGO, or engages in activities deemed illegal by the regime, or illegally raises funds for an NGO can be imprisoned for up to a year and has to pay a hefty fine that can reach up to 50,000 riyals!
This law basically bans all civil society activity in Qatar, and grants the Qatari regime absolute powers to freely repress and stifle civil society movements with impunity. The world wonders how does Qatar preach freedom and democracy through its media trumpets while it doesn’t grant its citizens the most basic rights and freedoms including the right freedom of association.