Lawyers for a group of women who were forcibly removed from a flight to Doha at gunpoint are calling on Qatar to guarantee the safety of soccer fans traveling to the World Cup.

Five Australian women are suing Qatar Airways and the state-owned Qatar Civil Aviation Authority after they were removed from a Sydney-bound flight “at gunpoint” in 2020 and subjected to invasive gynecological exams without their consent. Guardian.

“This group of brave women had to go to court to send a message to Qatar that what happened was wrong and should not be allowed to happen again,” said the women’s lawyer, Damian Sturzacker. AFP.

“Z World Cup In less than a month, women travelers are entitled to assurances from Qatar that their human rights will be respected,” he said.

What should football fans know when traveling to Qatar?

A legal case against Qatar Airways and its civil aviation authority has been launched ahead of next month’s FIFA World Cup, with the Gulf nation facing increased scrutiny a record of human rights and especially women’s rightsright.

In response to growing concern, Art The UK government has published guidance detailing how to respect local laws and customs in Qatar, which travel enthusiasts are “strongly advised” to familiarize themselves with.

The government advised all visitors to the Islamic country to “dress modestly in public, including while driving”, but women “must cover their shoulders and not wear short skirts”. Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops when entering government buildings, medical facilities or shopping malls or risk being refused entry.

National world said that while those rules are expected to be “relaxed somewhat” during the World Cup, they will nevertheless “generally remain the same.”

The government also warns against intimacy in public, which it warns “could lead to arrest.” A government website reports that married cohabitation is illegal in Qatar and that sex outside of marriage, whether between same-sex or opposite-sex couples, is also illegal and can lead to “arrest and potential prosecution if the decision may include a fine, imprisonment and deportation after serving the sentence.”

Because of laws on sex outside of marriage, if a woman arriving in the country becomes pregnant while unmarried, “both you and your partner may face imprisonment and/or deportation,” as well as significant hardship during prenatal or medical care. reviews.

What about sexual assault reports?

Qatar’s strict laws can also make it difficult to report cases of sexual abuse, with Athletic reporting that several human rights groups have “expressed concern” that female soccer fans could be prosecuted and severely punished if they report being sexually assaulted while in the country.

The website reports that “in several recent cases, a victim of sexual or physical abuse has been accused of having sex outside of marriage instead of receiving physical and emotional support,” a crime punishable by jail time or even flogging if the victim is Muslim.

Survivors of sexual assault “may also find themselves denied access to basic health services, such as emergency contraception or special antibiotics, without a marriage certificate,” The Athletic reports.

But Qatar’s Supreme Committee, which is responsible for implementing the entire 2022 FIFA World Cup project in the Gulf nation, says “Qatar protects and promotes women’s rights, and this extends to all women coming to the World Cup.” FIFA said that “any fan who reports sexual violence will have access to Qatar’s high-quality healthcare system, regardless of marital status.”

What is it like for Qatari women?

A Human Rights Watch A 2021 report found that women in Qatar live in a system of “deep discrimination” through the governance system, meaning women often depend on men for permission to marry, travel, pursue higher education or make decisions about their own children.

Qatar’s government dismissed the accounts in the report as “inaccurate,” saying they did not truly reflect the country’s “constitutional laws or policies.”

But Rotna Begum, a women’s rights researcher, said Guardian that: “Women are often asked to get permission from a male guardian, even if it is not specified in the rules. So the government told us that women don’t need a man’s permission to work, but many government jobs are staffed by HR [human resources departments] they said: “Show us the letter from the man.”

“There are no anti-discrimination laws in Qatar, there is no agency you can go to if you want to complain. There are no active women’s rights organizations that can monitor how women are treated and hold the government accountable.”

What about the Qatar Airways lawsuit?

On October 2, 2020, women on 10 flights on the ground at Doha Airport were subjected to intrusive searches as authorities searched for the mother of a newborn baby who was found “abandoned in a plastic bag in the departure hall at Hamad International Airport.” said The Guardian.

The child survived and the mother, who is not a Qatari citizen, was arrested but faces up to 15 years in prison.