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On Qatar’s Reservations to the ICESCR

 

On 18-22 October 2021 in Geneva the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will hold its 69th Pre-Sessional Working Group to start the process of reviewing States’ compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“ICESCR”), one of the most important core human rights treaties.[1] The forthcoming ICESCR compliance review session will be closely observed, as the States reviewed are Armenia, Chad, Mauritania, Qatar, Romania, and Palestine. Among the interesting questions this session will raise, this blog post focuses on Qatar’s reservations. It will be the first review of this treaty’s implementation by Qatar, which ratified ICESCR on 21 May 2018; but Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR, primarily affecting women’s and workers’ rights, follow a problematic pattern of reservations to other treaties that a range of UN organs, other States, NGOs, and scholars have drawn attention to.[2]

This post will first discuss the impermissibility of Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR as well as other reservations under universal human rights treaties with a similar subject-matter. Secondly, it will show that Qatar’s reservations defeat the object and purpose of the ICESCR, making them clearly impermissible under international law. Thirdly, it will detail why Qatar’s reservations are incompatible with custom and jus cogens norms. Fourthly, it will turn to Qatar’s intention to maintain its reservations under the ICESCR despite their impermissibility under international law. Finally, this post will formulate recommendations to resolve this concerning situation for the respect of international human rights law.

 

I. Qatar’s impermissible reservations on gender equality and trade union rights under the ICESCR

 

This section provides the context of Qatar’s reservations under ICESCR (A.), then turns to the international norms governing the permissibility of reservations (B.).

 

I.A. Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR and other reservations under universal human rights treaties with a similar subject-matter

 

Qatar became a State party to the ICESCR by ratifying it on 21 May 2018. When it ratified this universal human rights treaty, the State of Qatar made an explicit reservation to Art. 3 ICESCR on gender equality: “The State of Qatar does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, for they contravene the Islamic Sharia with regard to questions of inheritance and birth.”[3] This reservation falls under the following definition by the International Law Commission:

 

““Reservation” means a unilateral statement, however phrased or named, made by a State or an international organization when signing, ratifying, formally confirming, accepting, approving or acceding to a treaty, or by a State when making a notification of succession to a treaty, whereby the State or organization purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the treaty in their application to that State or to that international organization.”[4]

 

Qatar also submitted a statement on Art. 8 ICESCR, which is a reservation since it restricts the scope of rights protected under that ICESCR provision. This statement reads as follow: “The State of Qatar shall interpret that what is meant by “trade unions” and their related issues stated in Article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right[s], is in line with the provisions of the Labor Law and national legislation. The State of Qatar reserves the right to implement that article in accordance with such understanding.”[5] This statement is in fact a reservation since Qatar’s labour law, after its latest reform on 8 September 2020, still prohibits workers to strike and join trade unions.[6] Qatar’s statement on Art. 8 ICESCR upon accession is therefore a statement purporting to limit its obligations. According to the 2011 Guidelines on Reservations to treaties, that constitutes a reservation.[7]

            Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR shall not be read in isolation from other reservations it has submitted under other universal human rights treaties. Since this post focuses on Qatar’s ICESCR periodic review, it will only refer to Qatar’s other reservations that have a similar scope of application to those under the ICESCR.

Under the ICCPR, the State of Qatar has also made reservations regarding both gender equality and trade unions.[8] Qatar has also made reservations to Arts. 2 and 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”), justifying them with reference to Sharia law.[9] Qatar’s reservation under Art. 2(1) CRC partly overlap with Qatar’s reservation to Art. 3 ICESCR. Finally, Qatar has also made several reservations upon accession to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW”), whose subject-matter overlap with the reservation it has authored under Art. 3 ICECSR, regarding specifically gender equality with respect to inheritance and birth.[10]

            Qatar’s reservations under the ICECSR are impermissible under international law, since they are incompatible with the object and purpose of this universal human rights treaty, according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) and the International Law Commission’s Guidelines on Reservations.

 

I.B. Applicable rules under the VCLT and the 2011 ILC Guidelines on Reservations

 

Under Art. 19(3) VCLT on formulations of reservations, a State “may, when signing, accepting, approving or acceding to a treaty, formulate a reservation unless… the reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty.” Art. 21 VLCT on legal effects of reservations sets forth that a reservation can only produce legal effects if it has been inter alia made in accordance with Art. 19 VLCT. This is not the case with Qatar’s reservations, which are incompatible with the object and purpose of the ICESCR. The two reservations that Qatar submitted to the ICESCR are clearly incompatible with the object and purpose of this Convention, since they fundamentally violate the principle of gender equality and basic rights of workers to strike and form unions, that are protected under international human rights law as fundamental rights.

            The 2011 ILC Guidelines on Reservations are authoritative standards in international law that can supplement the general rules applicable to reservations to international treaties under the VCLT. The ILC Guidelines confirm that Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR are impermissible under international law, and therefore without legal effect. The Guidelines explain that a “reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty if it affects an essential element of the treaty that is necessary to its general tenour, in such a way that the reservation impairs the raison d’être of the treaty.”[11]

First, Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR are incompatible with the raison d’être of the ICESCR, since they fundamentally curtail women’s rights as well as workers’ rights, that are both at the core of the protection guaranteed by this universal human rights treaty. Furthermore, Qatar’s reservations overly restrict other interdependent rights protected under that Covenant, and other universal human rights treaties whose subject-matter partly overlap with the ICESCR.[12]

Secondly, reservations made by Qatar upon accession to the ICESCR are impermissible because they are vague and constitute general reservations of the type that the ILC Guidelines on reservations prohibit: “A reservation shall be worded in such a way as to allow its meaning to be understood, in order to assess in particular its compatibility with the object and purpose of the treaty.”[13]

Thirdly, Qatar justifies its reservations in an over-generalised fashion with reference to its understanding of Sharia law anchored in its domestic laws concerning inheritance and birth.[14] Yet, the ILC Guidelines on Reservations only accept that a State authors a reservation to “preserve the integrity of specific rules” of its internal law “insofar as it does not affect an essential element of the treaty nor its general tenour.”[15] Qatar’s reliance on its own understanding of Islamic Sharia law as it applies to its domestic law in order to justify broad reservations in a manner incompatible with the raison d’être of the ICESCR affects both an essential element of this treaty and its general tenour, as the purported reservations have the effect of depriving women, children and workers from the protection of their fundamental rights. These interventions are therefore a negation of the commitments that Qatar made while accessing these universal human rights treaties.

The fact that Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR and other human rights treaties are impermissible under international law has actually motivated other States parties to those treaties, UN treaty monitoring bodies as well as other stakeholders to call upon Qatar to withdraw its reservations.

 

 II. A broad recognition of the impermissibility of Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR

 

This section will detail the following. Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR have been directly and repeatedly objected to by other States parties to that Convention and other universal human rights treaties whose subject-matter partly overlap the former (A). Those reservations have also been criticised by multiple States during Qatar’s UPR Third Cycle (B), as well as by other stakeholders (C). Finally, Qatar’s reservations to universal human rights treaties have also been systematically and consistently criticised by UN treaty bodies (D.).

 

II.A. Direct objections by third States to Qatar’s reservations to ICESCR and other universal human rights treaties

 

Multiple reservations made by Qatar under the ICESCR, and other universal human rights treaties, have attracted objections from other States parties to those international treaties. Those objections have all regarded Qatar’s reservations made under universal human rights treaties as impermissible under international law and therefore without effects.

            The Government of Sweden objected on 22 May 2019 to the reservations made by Qatar upon accession to the ICESCR, by sending the following communication to the UN Secretary General, grounding its objection in international law:

 

“The Government of Sweden notes that the interpretation and application of Article 3 and Article 8 are made subject to in general terms to Islamic sharia and/or national legislation. The Government of Sweden is of the view that such reservations, which does not clearly specify the extent of the derogations, raises doubt as to the commitment of the State of Qatar to the object and purpose of the [Covenant].

According to customary international law, as codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, reservations incompatible with the object and purpose of the [Covenant] shall not be permitted. It is in the common interest of states that treaties to which they have chosen to become parties are respected, as to their object and purpose, by all parties and that states are prepared to undertake any legislative changes necessary to comply with their obligations under the treaties.

For this reason, the Government of Sweden objects to the aforementioned reservations made by the Government of Qatar. The [Covenant] shall enter into force in its entirety between the two States, without Qatar benefitting from its reservations.”[16]

 

On 1 July 1996, the Government of Belgium sent a communication to the UN Secretary General to object to the reservations made by Qatar, by contending that they are “incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention” and that they are consequently in accordance with article 51(2) CRC not permitted. Belgium added moreover in its objection that “as the 12 months period specified in article 20.5 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is not applicable to reservations which are null and void, Belgium’s objection to such reservations is not subject to any particular time-limit.”[17]

The Government of Denmark sent on 3 July 1995 a communication to the UN Secretary General to object to the reservation made by Qatar under the CRC, by arguing that “[b]ecause of their unlimited scope and undefined character these reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention and accordingly inadmissible and without effect under international law.”[18] Similarly, the Government of Sweden sent a communication to the UN Secretary General to object to the reservations made inter alia by Qatar under the CRC.[19] On 18 June 1996, the Government of Austria has similarly objected to the reservation made by Qatar upon ratification to the CRC.[20]

The United Mexican States and the Government of Portugal have both sent a communication to the UN Secretary General to object to Qatar’s reservations under CEDAW.[21] Mexico has concluded after examining these reservations that “they should be considered invalid in the light of article 28, paragraph 2, of the Convention because they are incompatible with its object and purpose. The said reservations, if implemented, would inevitably result in the discrimination against women on the basis of sex, which is contrary to all the articles of the Convention.”[22] For its part, Portugal justified its objection to Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR with the contention that these reservations “are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention, insofar as they disregard fundamental principles that shape the core of the Convention”, while adding that “[a]ccording to international law, a reservation which is incompatible with the object and purpose of a treaty shall not be permitted.”[23]

Besides direct objections by third States to Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR and other universal human rights treaties, several States have also recommended Qatar to review and withdraw its reservations because they are impermissible under international law, at the occasion of Qatar Universal Periodic Review (‘UPR’) Third Cycle before the Human Rights Council.

 

II.B. Third States’ recommendations asking Qatar to review and withdraw its reservations under the ICESCR and universal human rights treaties

 

During Qatar’s UPR Third Cycle,[24] Albania,[25] Austria,[26] Czechia,[27] France,[28] Germany,[29] Ireland,[30] Slovenia,[31] and Uruguay[32] expressed general concerns about Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR and recommended that State to withdraw them or at least to minimise them. In addition, several States have also recommended that Qatar withdraw its reservations under other universal human rights treaties, whose subject-matter overlap entirely or partly with its reservations under the ICESCR, including: Albania (ICCPR)[33], Austria (ICCPR, CEDAW)[34]; Canada (CEDAW)[35]; Czechia (ICCPR)[36]; France (ICCPR, CEDAW)[37]; Germany (ICCPR, CEDAW)[38]; Ireland (ICCPR)[39]; Lichtenstein (CEDAW)[40]; Netherlands (CEDAW)[41]; Norway (CEDAW)[42]; Romania (CEDAW)[43]; Slovenia (ICCPR)[44] and Uruguay (ICCPR, CEDAW, CRC).[45]

 

II.C. Other stakeholders’ reactions against Qatar’s impermissible reservations to the ICESR under international law

 

During Qatar’s UPR Third Cycle, the group of NGOs JS4 firstly urged reviewing States to recommend that Qatar amend the Citizenship Law to enable Qatari women to transfer nationality to their children and spouses without restriction, on an equal basis to men, in accordance with international standards and the Constitution of Qatar; and to remove Qatar’s reservation to and ensure full compliance with the entirety of CEDAW’s Article 9.”[46] JS4 also “stated that the sweeping reservations made to ICCPR and ICESCRs in respect to gender equality and declarations that appear to undermine the object and purpose of the Covenants, were regrettable, and that the gaps in domestic law and policy and the challenges that many individuals and groups faced in relation to their right to a nationality, detailed below, were all in clear violation of the international obligations of Qatar.”[47]

Secondly, JS4, JS5, Maat Foundation and Amnesty International have “recommended Qatar to withdraw all reservations and declarations to the ICCPR and ICESCR; ratify the Optional Protocols to the ICCPR, ICESCR and CAT; and the Rome Statute of the ICC and the ICPPED.”[48] Furthermore, Amnesty International has “expressed concern over the government’s sweeping reservations. Through lodging these reservations, Qatar has refused to fully recognize equal rights for women, including in matters of personal status laws, and has also stated that it will interpret the term “punishment” in line with the Islamic Shari’a.”[49] It has also suggested that the government may not intend, as a state party to the Covenants, to address the fact that women do not have equal rights to inheritance, or to remove the death penalty and corporal punishment from the Penal Code currently applicable for crimes such as murder, banditry and adultery. Qatar also stated that it will interpret the scope of the right to form and join trade unions in line with the Labour Law, which prevents migrant workers – about 90% of the country’s population – from forming or joining unions, thereby violating their right to freedom of association.”[50] All of these NGOs observations are congruent with similar assessment by UN treaty monitoring bodies.

 

II.D. UN treaty monitoring bodies

 

In 2018, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”) commented on Qatar’s accession to the ICCPR and ICESCR while criticising its reservations under both treaties by noting “with regret [that] the State party’s reservations to both Covenants, which might hinder the application of those instruments by the State party.”[51] A year later, the CEDAW reiterated an older assessment regarding the impermissible reservations that Qatar has made under the CEDAW,[52] in a similar fashion to the impermissible reservations authored by Qatar while acceding to the ICESCR.[53]

            After all those consistent criticisms directed towards its impermissible reservations under the ICESCR and other universal human rights treaties, the State of Qatar has articulated a defense that fails to justify its insistence in not reviewing its impermissible reservations under those treaties and withdrawing them.

 

III. Qatar’s reservations to the ICESCR are incompatible with Qatar’s other treaty obligations, customary international law, and jus cogens norms

 

Qatar’s reservation to Art. 3 is without any effect because the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights provided for in Art. 3 ICESCR is also protected by numerous treaties that Qatar has ratified, including Art. 11 of CEDAW (which, as noted above, has declared Qatar’s reservation impermissible).[54] In addition, this right is also guaranteed under both customary international law, and jus cogens norms.[55]

Qatar’s reservation to Art. 8 ICESCR is equally without effect because the right to form and join trade unions and the right to strike are protected by International Labour Organisation conventions, Art. 26 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Art. 35 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, and other treaties that the State of Qatar has ratified. In addition, the right to form and join trade unions and the right to strike have also become customary international law.[56]

 

IV. Qatar must review its impermissible reservations and withdraw them, even if they are without effect under international law

 

In its Initial report submitted in December 2020 under Arts. 16 and 17 ICESCR to the CESCR, the State of Qatar declared not to be bound by Art. 3 of the Convention according to the reservation it has made while acceding this treaty.[57] Qatar also reiterates that it shall interpret the term “trade unions” under Art. 8 ICESCR “in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Labour Code and national legislation.”[58] Thus, despite the fact that its reservations under the ICESCR are clearly impermissible under international law, the State of Qatar continues to date to argue that they are compatible with that Convention.

Qatar states that it submits this Initial Report in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1988/4 of 24 May 1987 and “affirms its commitment to the principles and purposes articulated in the Covenant”, before to add that “the measures taken to implement the Covenant will be described in detail in the present report.”[59] This statement can be read together with the later paragraph wherein “Qatar affirms its full readiness to cooperate in responding to any queries or requests for clarification concerning the implementation of the Covenant.”[60] In the section of this Initial Report on Art. 2, concerning the respect for the rights envisaged in the Covenant, it is explained under the heading “Exercising rights without discrimination” that “Qatar subscribes to all international legal principles and norms that protect individuals within its territory, whose rights it ensures on the basis of the social justice enshrined in the country’s Permanent Constitution.”[61] Qatar declares that its constitutional framework is “founded on the core values of justice, benevolence, freedom, equality and moral rectitude.”[62]

The next section on Art. 3 ICESCR is directly relevant to the reservation made by Qatar to the ICESCR. There, Qatar explains that under its Constitution, “all citizens have equality of rights and duties before the law, irrespective of gender”,[63] and contends that “the equality of women and men before the law, administrative bodies and the courts, all domestic laws in Qatar cleave to the principle of equality of treatment of persons of equivalent legal status and of men and women.”[64] All these arguments are contradicted by the reservations that Qatar maintains under the ICESCR regarding women, children and workers’ human rights.

Another important justification recently used by Qatar is that it reviews periodically its reservations to all international human rights treaties, but without a specific time frame, since it argues that the ICCPR does not impose such a time frame.[65] This is therefore a clear delay strategy that should immediately stop, so that Qatar can comply with its commitments under the human rights treaties it has ratified. Qatar, in its voluntary commitments and replies presented at the conclusion of its Third Universal Periodic Review, has merely taken note of all recommendations made by third States that were criticising its reservations to the ICESCR and other human rights treaties.[66]

 

V. Recommendations

 

The 2011 International Law Commission (“ILC”) Guidelines on Reservations spell out that the assessment of the permissibility of a reservation to a treaty under international law can be carried out by “contracting States or contracting organizations” and also by “treaty monitoring bodies.”[67] In addition, a panel of UN human rights practitioners as well as distinguished international legal experts have urged “[a]ll stakeholders – treaty bodies, States, NHRIs, NGOs, OHCHR and other UN bodies, civil society – [to] actively promote the ratification without reservations that are incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaties, and the acceptance of communications and inquiry procedures. They should also promote the withdrawal of all impermissible reservations.”[68]

Taking this mandate of human rights NGOs to heart, and given Qatar’s willingness to sustain the view that it can make reservations in violation of both international treaty law and international human rights law, the following measures are recommended.

 

  1. UN treaty monitoring bodies, especially the CESCR, should follow the recommendations made by the panel of experts that met in 2011 for renewing international human rights law, by addressing “the issue of impermissible reservations to their treaty of competence”, calling upon Qatar to “accept the communications and inquiry procedures laid down in their respective treaties” and to ensure “that impermissible reservations to human rights treaties are consistently addressed in all dialogues with States”, including the State of Qatar.[69]
  1. All like-minded stakeholders should address the issue of Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR and other human rights treaties, in order to convince Qatar to review and withdraw them given their clear impermissibility under international law.
  1. The State of Qatar should establish a clear timeline to review its reservations to Arts. 3 and 8 ICESCR, given their centrality to the purpose and objective of the Covenant, with a view to withdrawing them[70], as soon as feasible in accordance with Arts. 22 and 23(4) VCLT.
  1. In the meantime, the international community should deem Qatar’s reservations under the ICESCR as severable and therefore without effects, given their clear incompatibility with the treaty in question,[71] as this does not depend on States or International Organisations’ reactions or objections.[72]

 

 

[1] See, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=2443&Lang=en

[2] On Qatar’s problematic reservations see e.g. https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde22/9892/2019/en/ ; https://www.ejiltalk.org/qatars-reservations-to-the-iccpr-anything-new-under-the-vclt-sun/

[3] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, New York, 16 December 1966, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-3&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec.

[4] ILC, Reservations to treaties, Text and title of the draft guidelines constituting the Guide to Practice on Reservations to treaties, as finalized by the Working Group on Reservations to Treaties from 26 to 29 April, and on 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18 May 2011, A/CN.4/L.779, distr. gen. on 19 May 2011, at https://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/, p. 1, para. 1.1.

[5] Ibid. Comp. with Sweden’s objection to Qatar’s reservations under ICESCR, United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, New York, 16 December 1966, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-3&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec, endnote 30.

[6] Human Rights Watch, “Qatar: Significant Labor and Kafala Reforms”, 24 September 2020, at https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/24/qatar-significant-labor-and-kafala-reforms; Amnesty International, “Migrant Workers Rights with Two Years to the Qatar 2022 World Cup: Reality Check”, February 2019, at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/02/reality-check-migrant-workers-rights-with-two-years-to-qatar-2022-world-cup/.

[7] ILC, Reservations to treaties, Text and title of the draft guidelines constituting the Guide to Practice on Reservations to treaties, as finalized by the Working Group on Reservations to Treaties from 26 to 29 April, and on 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18 May 2011, A/CN.4/L..779, distr. gen. on 19 May 2011, at https://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/, p. 1, para. 1.1.1.

[8] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, New York, 16 December 1966, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec.

[9] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 11. Convention on the Rights of the Child, New York, 20 November 1989, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec.

[10] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, New York, 18 December 1979, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-8&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec.

[11] ILC, Reservations to treaties, Text and title of the draft guidelines constituting the Guide to Practice on Reservations to treaties, as finalized by the Working Group on Reservations to Treaties from 26 to 29 April, and on 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18 May 2011, A/CN.4/L..779, distr. gen. on 19 May 2011, at https://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/, p. 17, para. 3.1.5.

[12] Ibid., 3.1.5.6.

[13] Ibid., para. 3.1.5.2.

[14] See, supra, fn 1.

[15] ILC, Guidelines on Reservations to treaties, ibid., p. 17, 3.1.5.5.

[16] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, New York, 16 December 1966, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-3&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec, endnote 30.

[17] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 11. Convention on the Rights of the Child, New York, 20 November 1989, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec, endnote 52.

[18] Ibid, endnote 25.

[19] Ibid, endnote 23.

[20] Ibid., endnote 53.

[21] United Nations Treaty Collection, Chapter IV Human Rights, 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, New York, 18 December 19979, Status as at: 03-08-2021, at https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-8&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec, endnote 84.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] HRC, Universal Periodic Review Third Cycle – Qatar, at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/QAindex.aspx.

[25] HRC, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Qatar, A/HRC/42/15, distr. gen. on 11 July 2019, p. 8, para. 94.

[26] Ibid., p. 11, para. 134.25.

[27] Ibid., para. 134.26.

[28] Ibid., para. 134.23.

[29] Ibid., p. 4, para. 19 and p. 11, para. 134.22.

[30] Ibid., p. 4, para. 28.

[31] Ibid., p. 6, para. 63.

[32] Ibid., p. 8, para. 90.

[33] Ibid., para. 94.

[34] Ibid., p. 11, para. 134.25.

[35] Ibid., pp. 21-2, para. 134.212.

[36] Ibid., p. 11, para. 134.26.

[37] Ibid., p. 11, para. 134.23.

[38] Ibid., p. 11, para. 134.22 and p. 20, para. 134.180.

[39] Ibid., p. 4, para. 28.

[40] Ibid., p. 12, para. 134.29.

[41] Ibid., p. 11, para. 123.24.

[42] Ibid., p. 19, para. 134.173.

[43] Ibid., p. 12, para. 134.28.

[44] Ibid., p. 6, para. 63.

[45] Ibid., p. 8, para. 90.

[46] HRC, Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Qatar, Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/WG.6/33/QAT/3, distr. gen. on 21 February 2019, pp. 2-3, para. 15.

[47] Ibid., para. 21.

[48] Ibid., para. 17.

[49] Ibid., para. 18.

[50] Ibid., para. 19.

[51] CERD, Concluding observations on the combined seventeenth to twenty-first periodic reports of Qatar, CERD/C/QAT/CO/17-21, dsitr. gen. on 2 January 2019, p. 2, para. 4.

[52] CEDAW, Concluding observations on the initial report of Qatar, CEDAW/C/QAT/CO/1, distr. on 10 March 2014, p. 2, paras. 7-8. 

[53] CEDAW, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Qatar, CEDAW/C/QAT/CO/2, distr. gen. on 30 July 2019, p. 3, paras. 9-10.

[54] Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, A/71/385, para. 56.

[55] For relevant state practice and opinio juris pertaining to treaty reservations that concern gender discrimination and were made with reference to Shariah, see William A. Schabas, The Customary International Law of Human Rights Oxford 2021, pp. 87-88, 157. The prohibition of gender discrimination is characterised as a jus cogens norm in the relevant context in CESCR, General Comment No. 18, Art. 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, E/C.12/GC/18, para. 1.

[56] Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, A/71/385, para. 56.

[57] CESCR, Initial report submitted by Qatar under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, due in 2020, E/C.12/QAT/1, distr. gen. on 1 December 2020, p. 3, para. 3.

[58] Ibid., para. 4.

[59] Ibid., para. 5.

[60] Ibid., p. 4, para. 10.

[61] Ibid., pp. 4-5, para. 15.

[62] Ibid., pp. 4-5, para. 15.

[63] Ibid., p. 10, para. 41-43.

[64] Ibid., pp. 10-11, para. 44. 

[65] HRC, Replies of Qatar to the list of issues in relation to its initial report, CCPR/C/QAT/RQ/1, distr. gen. on 8 April 2021, p. 3, para. 9.

[66] HRC, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, State of Qatar, A/HRC/42/15/Add.1, distr. gen. on 30 August 2019.

[67] Ibid., p. 18, para. 3.2.

[68] Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System, Dublin II Meeting, Outcome Document, 10 – 11 November 2011, at https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/HRTD/docs/DublinII_Outcome_Document.pdf, p. 5, paras. 13-6.

[69] Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System, Dublin II Meeting, Outcome Document, 10 – 11 November 2011, at https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/HRTD/docs/DublinII_Outcome_Document.pdf, p. 5, paras. 15-6.

[70] Ibid., para. 16. Comp. with CEDAW, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Qatar, CEDAW/C/QAT/CO/2, distr. gen. on 30 July 2019, p. 3, paras. 9-10.

[71] ILC, Guidelines on Reservations to treaties, ibid., pp. 23-4, para. 4.5.1.

[72] Ibid., paras. 4.5.2.

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