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Qatar: UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to conduct official visit

GENEVA (31 October 2019) – The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will carry out its first official visit to Qatar, from 3 to 14 November 2019, to assess the situation regarding deprivation of liberty in the country.

The delegation – comprising three members of the group, Leigh Toomey, Elina Steinerte and Roland Adjovi – will meet Government officials, judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, academics and other relevant groups and bodies.

They will visit places where people are held within the health and criminal justice systems, in immigration detention facilities and in other social care settings.

The experts will share their preliminary observations at a press conference on 14 November 2019, at 12:30 local time, at the Al Karana Room of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, West Bay, in Doha. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Working Group will present its final report on the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.


The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Its mandate was clarified and extended by the Commission to cover the issue of administrative custody of asylum-seekers and immigrants. In September 2019, the Human Rights Council confirmed the scope of the Working Group's mandate and extended it for a further three-year period. The Working Group is comprised of five independent expert members from various regions of the world: Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico; Chair-Rapporteur), Ms Elina Steinerte (Latvia; Vice-Chair on Follow-up), Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia; Vice-Chair on Communications), Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin) and Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (the Republic of Korea).

Database of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The Working Group is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page — Qatar

For media registration for the Press Conference, please contact Mr. Abdelrahim Elamin at +974 55872065.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact Ms. Lucie Viersma (+41229289380/ lviersma@ohchr.org); Ms. Isabelle Heyer (+41 79 444 4828 / iheyer@ohchr.org); Mr. Francisco Alfonzo (+41 79 444 4860/ falfonzo@ohchr.org) or write to wgad@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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