UN expert warns of 'prevalence' of racial profiling in Qatar

DOHA: migrant workers in Qatar they are facing discrimination due to their nationality, racial identity, stereotypes and the prevalence of profiling, an independent UN expert warned on Sunday.

The Gulf monarchy has seen an influx of migrant workers, mainly from poor developing countries, in advance of the 2022 World Cup meaning that the population is 90 percent non- Qatar i.

"For many people living in Qatar , their capacity to enjoy fully is mediated by their nationality or national origin," the UN's special rapporteur on racism and discrimination Tendayi Achiume told AFP.

Migrants from specific countries are often recruited for certain roles, such as women from Southeast Asia for domestic jobs and men from South Asia for unskilled construction jobs, he said.

"Far from being mostly short-term guest workers, many low-income workers spend the better part of their working lives in Qatar and do so facing serious barriers to full enjoyment of their fundamental human rights," she said.

Very few migrant workers ever qualify for permanent residency and almost none achieve citizenship and the welfare benefits enjoyed by Qatar is.

The UN experts are independent and do not speak for the world body, but their findings can be used to inform the work of UN organizations, including the rights council.

Achiume will present its final report on the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in July 2020.

He warned that stereotypes persist in public and in private that men in sub-Saharan Africa are presumed to be unhealthy, women in sub-Saharan Africa are supposed to be sexually available, and nationalities in South Asia are presumed to be unintelligent.

Americans, Europeans and Australians, on the other hand, are presumed superior, and whites in general are inherently competent, he said.

But Achiume stressed that while racism and discrimination remained an issue in Qatar , authorities had accepted the issue and made efforts to improve the situation - unlike some other countries.

"The existence of racial, ethnic and national stereotypes and discriminatory structures... are, in part, the product of the history of slavery in Qatar ," she said.

Slavery in the country was abolished in 1952.

Achiume, a law professor at UCLA in the United States, said she had also received reports highlighting the prevalence of racial and ethnic profiling by the police and traffic authorities.

Security guards in parks and shopping centers also participated in such practices, he said, favoring white and Arab residents while treating others differently.

Achiume praised Qatar for the "significant reforms the government has embarked on that stand to make important contributions to combatting structural racial discrimination".

However, much work remains to be done, he said.