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This is the situation in Qatar for the LGTBQ community, women and migrants

(CNN Spanish) — The election of Qatar in 2010 as the venue for the World Cup unleashed a wave of debates and controversies over the situation of minority rights that continue to this day, when there are two months left before its start.

And it is that not only is it an atypical location -due to the extreme heat, which led to delaying the start until November- for the competition, but also the country, an Islamic monarchy located in the Persian Gulf, has been criticized for human rights organizations for their treatment of the LGBTQ community, women and migrants.

In Qatar, Islam is the official religion, and Wahhabi Sunnism is the most representative faction. Its current king is Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is seen as a modernizer within a very conservative country.

These are some of the main human rights violations in Qatar.

The situation of the LGBTQ community

Qatar is one of 70 countries in the world where same-gender sexual relations are criminalized, according to Amnesty International.

Qatar and human rights: tense interview with Al Khater 4:16

In the country, penalties of up to seven years in prison are applied for violation of articles 285 and 296 of the penal code, referring to these relationships.

According to Human Rights Watch, there are reports of members of the LGBTQ community being arrested for their online activity, and the government regularly censors content related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

In preparation for the World Cup, the Qatari government has said it will accept tourists from the LGBTQ community with “tolerance” and will not curtail their expression. But there are questions about how Qatari citizens will be treated at the same time.

In October, Qatar praised the Australian men’s team for its efforts to raise awareness of “important issues” and said “no country is perfect,” a spokesman for Qatar’s Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy said.

In a video message produced by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), 16 players called on Qatar to recognize same-sex relationships and improve the rights of migrant workers. The PFA also published an open letter to Qatar expressing the need for reform.

“We congratulate the footballers who use their platforms to raise awareness of important issues,” said the Qatari Supreme Committee spokesman, responding to the call for reforms in the footballers’ country ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Doha.

“No country is perfect, and all countries, hosts of major events or not, have their challenges,” the spokesman said.

“New laws and reforms often take time to set in, and strong implementation of labor laws is a global challenge, including in Australia.”

women’s rights

Women in Qatar, as in other Gulf countries where Islam is the official religion, face widespread discrimination both in law and in practice, according to Amnesty International.

Under the male guardianship system, women remain subordinate to their guardians (father, husband, brother, etc.) and must ask their permission for important decisions such as getting married, studying or working.

Mexican tells how she was sentenced to lashes in Qatar 3:35

Also, to access reproductive health treatments and basic gynecological controls such as Pap tests.

In addition, it is difficult for women to get divorced, and even more difficult to obtain guardianship over children after a divorce.

The male guardianship system even clashes with Qatar’s constitution, according to Human Rights Watch, but continues to dominate relations between spouses in the country.

The harsh conditions of migrants

Like other Persian Gulf monarchies, Qatar has made extensive use of migrant labor in recent decades, especially for the construction of soccer stadiums for use in the World Cup.

The country has come under global scrutiny after thousands of deaths were reported among migrant workers, who often come from some of the world’s poorest countries to do dangerous work, in extreme heat and for low wages.

Qatar 2022, under the microscope for working conditions 2:04

According to the British newspaper GuardianThe figure could rise to 6,500 workers killed since 2010, when Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup.

CNN has not been able to verify this figure, and the Qatari government has categorically denied the allegation.

“This is something that needs to be made absolutely clear. Absolutely clear. The number of fatalities in World Cup stadiums that are work-related is three fatalities. There are just over 30 fatalities that are not work-related. work,” Nasser al Khatel, chief executive of the committee organizing the World Cup in Qatar, told CNN.

But under scrutiny, Qatar has been reforming the labor regime for migrants in recent years: it established a minimum wage of US$275 a month and enabled employees to change jobs without permission from their employers (something impossible with the earlier system known as Kafala).

With reporting from CNN’s Amanda Davies, George Ramsay, Celine Alkhaldi and Irene Nasser.

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