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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights in Qatar

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 10:00am
2456 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situation in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. 

Qatar became independent in 1971. The country is led by a hereditary Amir, Shaykh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who assumed his position in June 2013 when his father relinquished power voluntarily. Most Qataris adhere to Wahhabism, the same Islamic tradition as Saudi Arabia. 

Although Qatar is one of the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it has implemented policies in the region that differ from its partners, leading to conflict with Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the GCC alliance. The differences erupted into a crisis on June 5, 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, joined by Egypt and a few other governments, severed relations with Qatar and imposed limits on the entry and transit of Qatari nationals and vessels in their territories, waters, and airspace, thus sealing off the peninsula’s only land border and most sea traffic. The rupture has persisted in spite of the efforts of the U.S. and some other countries to mediate the dispute.

In this context, Qatar’s human rights situation has emerged as a point of discussion. This briefing will discuss the regional context, review ongoing human rights concerns, examine the human rights impact of the measures imposed by the GCC, and offer recommendations for the U.S. government.

This briefing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at 202-226-1516 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC



  • Todd Ruffner, Advocacy Officer, Project on Middle East Democracy
    Written statement
  • Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
    Written statement
  • Raed Jarrar, Advocacy Director, Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International USA
    Written statement


  • Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional Research Service


115th Congress