By *Jeshua Bardoo
This week, the media reported on a press statement by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in which he what he appears to do, fell nothing short of defending and praising, if not celebrating Qatar.
Moreover, he also appears to cherry-pick good things about Qatar to highlight how “magnificent” a host Qatar is for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, throughout this press statement, Gonsalves appears to lambast individuals and organisations for their criticisms levelled at Qatar. Not once did I see the Prime Minister address the human rights abuses occurring in Qatar. After reading the press statement, I was left totally flabbergasted and disappointed.
I must, respectfully, remind the Prime Minister that Qatar, like any other state, is NOT immune from criticism from other states or actors in the international community.
The criticisms levelled at Qatar are not unjustified. The international community is right to condemn Qatar for its past and present failures to protect human rights and prevent various human rights abuses against citizens, migrants, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ persons, to name a few.
Not all of us in St Vincent and the Grenadines are celebrating the so-called “amazing spectacle and sporting excellence on display in Qatar at the 2022 FIFA World Cup”. There is a dark cloud hovering over this event.
The Prime Minister’s personal views in relation to Qatar do not represent the views of all Vincentians. I am sure that many of us are appalled at what has been happening in Qatar and the many reported scandals surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
As a state, SVG can respect Qatar and its achievements without turning a blind eye to or overlooking its track record concerning human rights violations.
Qatar is a party to various human rights treaties. By becoming a party to these treaties, Qatar assumed obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. Any steps that Qatar has taken to address the human rights violations taking place in Qatar, I commend them.
Nevertheless, I strongly condemn human rights violations occurring in Qatar and I call on Qatar to do more to protect human rights. As a Vincentian and as an international human rights lawyer, I distance myself from the Prime Minister’s statements in the aforementioned press statement and I call on other Vincentians to do so.
*Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian lawyer with an LLM in international human rights law. He is also the President of Equal Rights, Access and Opportunities SVG Inc, a 2012 National Exhibition Scholar, a 2019 Chevening Scholar, and a 2022/23 Fellow at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].
Law seems to be a very lucrative business in ST Vincent and the Grenadines with such a very small population ,
In today’s world, a lawyer’s work need not be confined to the place where his/her office is located. Remember, this is the internet age. So it is misleading to assume that all lawyers in SVG depend on the small Vincentian market for legal services.
Mr Bardo do you have a beef with ghe goernment of Quatar because of their stuauch opposition to homosexuality or with the comrade himself? The Government of Quatar have their own constitution and is a soveveign country.
Every country designed their own laws by whch they are governed. If their laws against homosexuality is embed in their culture so be if it offends you. Mr Bardo you dont have to visit Quatar and they certaily dont need your tourist money. Keep your lobbing to yourself and those who are of the same opinion.
Jesuha Bardo you look like a softie lot of guys there will like to taste the pie because the old adage says that the taste of fhe pie is in the eating.
Jeshua do you know what pelting stones means in vincy vernuclar?
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