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As per the 28th Human Rights Watch Report that reviewed human rights practices in more than 90 countries, this is the right time for Middle East and North African countries to act on the popular demands that have become voice of the youth in the region.

As people today are more aware and exposed to various government systems and mechanisms they expect relative changes for betterment of quality of life, on the humanitarian grounds. They understand their rights well and now are not patient to compromise their rights further. Hence it is important to make necessary changes in the existing regime structures by ensuring that citizens get their due respect, liberty and dignity essential to do it’s over all development overcoming the traditional biases.

The major five reforms that are immediate implementation in the existing MENA regimes include Rights of Women, who are generally have to suffer the most of injustice given the laws that curtail their freedom to make decisions of their life, ranging from dress code to choosing a life partner to moving friendly. They need to experience the equality that women around the world experience. Moreover they must not be treated as a dependent but a strength that have the ability to contribute to country.

MENA women made some advances on nationality issues in 2017. Tunisia repealed a decree that prevented Muslim women – but not men – from registering marriages with non-Muslims; it also passed a landmark law on violence against women, instituting measures to prevent violence, protect survivors, and punish their abusers. In response to Qatari women’s demands to pass nationality onto their children like Qatari men, Qatar pledged to grant residency to children of Qatari women, providing most but not all rights that non-citizen children have.

Notably, Qatar for the first time allowed women in its ‘Shura’ Council which was another change towards providing equal status to women and Saudi has also taken few steps in this direction but there is still a dire need to dismantle the entire system. Governments of the MENA region must take ownership to abolish systemic discrimination in opportunities, divorce, child custody, and inheritance against women giving them equal status and dignity they deserve.

MENA governments nevertheless devoted extensive resources to prosecuting people for their adult, consensual bedroom activities. Young people in the Middle East are well aware that their governments enforce morality but that will no more prove to be successful in covering inefficiency of governments. They need to understand that they cannot impose moral principles and must allow the due liberty to the residents.

MENA government officials jailed people for alleged insults to them or to loosely defined notions of the country’s “reputation,” “national interest,” “culture,” or “religion.” Saudi Arabia went so far as to define “insulting the king,” crown prince, or head of state as a terrorist offense for which the punishment is five to 10 years imprisonment. Bahrain jailed human rights activists like Nabeel Rajab for an “insulting” tweet. Kuwait sentenced a writer to seven years in prison for insulting the state of Qatar. Blocking Doha News in Qatar was another breach of freedom of expression. MENA governments should abolish any law that even uses the word “insult” in its definition of a crime. Limiting freedom of speech is like hampering chances of a country to develop further. The governments need to understand that criticism are required to be accepted and reforms needs to be undertaken for progress.

MENA governments have treated their countries – and sometimes the countries of others – as massive jails, arbitrarily denying people the right to leave or the right to enter. Saudi Arabia has imposed arbitrary travel bans on many Saudis, and detained visiting foreign government officials like Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Yemen President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, while Israel has refused to allow Gazans to exit even for urgent medical treatment or education abroad. Bahrain stripped hundreds of its nationals of their citizenship to punish families of activists. Israel refused entry to people – including Jews – whose political views it doesn’t like, and blocked human rights workers and journalists from accessing Gaza. Governments needs to stop treating their citizens like property to be held on to or disposed at their will and need to act like custodians not bosses.

It is important that these changes are not ignored further as they are already under the vigilance of international organisation demeaning their role in the country and international community. Making these reforms is bound to push progress of the countries and respect in the world.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s job market appears to be gaining strength, with more than 40 percent of employers recently surveyed saying they definitely planned to hire more staff in the coming three months.

According to the latest edition of the Middle East and North Africa Job Index Survey, conducted by recruitment agency and polling agency YouGov, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of firms in Qatar said they would be taking on new employees, with 44 percent “definitely” hiring and 18 percent probably hiring.

The responses were more favorable now than than in August, when some 37 percent of firms said they would definitely be taking on new staff in the final quarter of 2014.

While Qatar’s showing is strong, Oman is leading the pack in the GCC, with 46 percent of firms there saying they were definitely hiring in the coming months. A further 23 percent said they were “probably” recruiting, with a total of 69 percent of companies planning to recruit during this quarter.

Firms hiring in coming 3 months

Firms hiring in coming 3 months

Across the GCC, just over a third (37 percent) of firms said they would take on new staff in the next few months.

Looking ahead

When it comes to recruiting for the rest of the year, some 67 percent of Qatar firms said they would hire – of those, 37 percent said “definitely” and a further 30 percent said “probably.”

Again, Oman firms voiced greater commitment to new hires with a total of 74 percent saying they would recruit (43 percent “definitely,” 31 percent “probably”), while Saudi Arabia was just behind with 38 percent of firms definitely hiring and 33 percent probably hiring.

The index is undertaken twice a year by Bayt and YouGov, charting the trends of hiring across the region and examining the skills and qualifications sought after by employers.

Construction in Qatar

Richard Messenger

Construction in Qatar

In line with Qatar’s massive ongoing construction boom, civil engineers (19 percent) are the profession most desired by companies currently planning to hire, while executive assistants are sought after by 17 percent of firms.

This follows the trend previously identified by QNB in a report published in September last year, when it predicted that more white-collar workers would be brought on board as part of a recruitment drive.

Among the key skills demanded by Qatar’s employers are good communication in Arabic and English (58 percent) and being a team player (51 percent). Nearly half of bosses (49 percent) want new staff who have the ability to manage teams.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Despite Qatar companies’ cited intentions to hire new staff, employees don’t appear to perceive the nation as having a stronger job market than elsewhere in the region.

One third of survey respondents in Qatar said they felt the country had a “much more” attractive job market than other MENA countries.

In comparison, more than half (54 percent) of those working in the UAE, and 43 percent of Saudi employees, thought their country had a more attractive job market.

The survey took the views of a total of 2,694 respondents between Dec. 11, 2014 and Jan. 20 this year.

How do you feel about Qatar’s job market? Thoughts?


The number of super-rich people in Qatar has increased slightly in the past year, but the combined wealth of these individuals has fallen by $1 billion, a new wealth report states.

There are now 300 “ultra-net high worth” people worth $30 million or more living in Qatar, including 12 billionaires, according to the World Ultra Wealth Report 2012-2013, which was released this week. That’s up from 290 people last year.

The nationalities of the ultra-wealthy were not disclosed in the joint UBS/Wealth-X report.

In 2012, one wealth index stated that most of Qatar residents’ wealth was concentrated within family-operated businesses.

This year, the total combined wealth of the Qatar-based UNHW came out to $45 billion, down a $1 billion from 2012, due to a decline in the equity markets, the report states:

The lack of sophisticated investment options, reliance and comfort with equity markets, and heavy dependence on overseas financial managers especially those in Europe are reasons for total net worth not increasing alongside the rise in UHNW population.

Previously, Qatar has been ranked as having the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with nearly 50,000 households holding private wealth of at least $1 million. It is also second highest in terms of global millionaire density, according to the Boston Consulting Group.


Meanwhile, the number of wealthy people in the MENA region is growing, though still only account for about 2.6 percent of the world’s richest people.

Neighboring Saudi Arabia has most of the region’s rich people, with 1,265 UNHW, who have a combined with of $230 billion. The UAE comes in second, and Qatar is fifth.

According to the report:

The steady pace of increase in the population of UHNW individuals (in MENA) reflects the tremendous potential of the two regions despite the political uncertainty that overshadows them.

Elsewhere, the US continues to be home to most of the world’s wealth, with more than 65,000 UNHW holding $8,880 billion, while Asia is starting to show a decline.

Here’s the full report:


Credit: Photo by Mohammed Nairooz