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Constitution of Qatar (2003)

1The following text is from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the contents of which, when accompanied by an attributive and non-commercial disclaimer, is generously made available for use. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more.1

2This is an English translation of the Constitution of the State of Qatar. The Arabic version of the Constitution is the definitive legal text.

3


4PART ONE

5The State and the Bases of the Rule

6Article 1

7Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and Shari'a law shall be a main source of its legislations. Its political system is democratic. The Arabic Language shall be its official language. The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation.

8Article 2

9The capital of the State is Doha City; and it may be transferred to any other place by a law. The State shall exercise its sovereignty on its territory and it may not relinquish its sovereignty neither may it cede any part of its territory.

10Article 3

11The law shall specify the flag of the State, the emblem, decorations, badges, and the National Anthem.

12Article 4

13The law shall determine the financial and banking system of the State, and specify its official currency.

14Article 5

15The State shall preserve its independence, sovereignty, territorial safety and integrity, security and stability, and defend itself against aggression.

16Article 6

17The State shall respect the international charters and conventions, and strive to implement all international agreements, charters, and conventions it is party thereof.

18Article 7

19The foreign policy of the State is based on the principle of strengthening international peace and security by means of encouraging peaceful resolution of international disputes; and shall support the right of peoples to self-determination; and shall not interfere in the domestic affairs of states; and shall cooperate with peace-loving nations.

20Article 8

21The rule of the State is hereditary in the family of Al Thani and in the line of the male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Jassim. The rule shall be inherited by the son named as Heir Apparent by the Emir. In the case that there is no such son, the prerogatives of rule shall pass to the member of the family named by the Emir as Heir Apparent. In this case, his male descendants shall inherit the rule. The provisions of the rule of the State and accession shall be determined by a special law that shall be issued within a year commencing as from the date of coming into force of this Constitution. This law shall have the power of the Constitution.

22Article 9

23The Emir shall, by an Emiri Order, appoint an Heir Apparent after consultation with the members of the Ruling Family and the people of wisdom (Ahal Alhal wal agd) in the State. The Heir Apparent must be a Muslim of a Qatari Muslim Mother.

24Article 10

25The Heir Apparent, on his appointment, shall take the following of oath:

26( I swear by Almighty God to respect Sharia law, the Constitution and the law, maintain the independence of the State and safeguard its territorial integrity, defend the freedom and interests of its people, and be loyal to the State and the Emir).

27Article 11

28The Heir Apparent shall assume the powers and discharge the functions of the Emir on his behalf during his absence outside the country, or in the event of temporary compelling circumstances).

29Article 12

30The Emir may, by an Emiri Order, confer upon the Heir Apparent the exercise of some of his powers and the discharge of some of his functions. The Heir Apparent shall preside over the sessions of the Council of Ministers whenever he is in attendance.

31Article 13

32Without prejudice to the provisions of the two preceding articles, and where it is not possible to delegate powers to the Heir Apparent, the Emir may, by an Emiri Order, designate a deputy from the Ruling Family to discharge some of his powers and functions; and where the person who has been so designated holds a post or performs a function in any institution, the same person shall cease to discharge the duties of that post or function during his deputation of the Emir; and the Deputy Emir shall, as soon as he is so designated, take, before the Emir, the same oath as taken by the Heir Apparent.

33Article 14

34There shall be established a Council by an Emiri Resolution named "The Council of the Ruling Family". The Emir shall appoint the Members of such Council from amongst the members of the Ruling Family.

35Article 15

36The Council of the Ruling Family shall determine the vacancy of the position of the Emir in the event of his demise or when he becomes totally incapacitated to discharge his functions. Following this, the Council of Ministers and Al-Shoura Council shall after a secret joint session announce the vacancy and declare the Heir Apparent as the Emir of the State.

37Article 16

38Where the Heir Apparent, at the time he is named Emir of the State, is less than 18 years of age according to the Gregorian calendar, the reins of Government shall be conferred upon a Regency Council to be appointed by the Council of the Ruling Family. The Regency Council shall be composed of a Chairman and not less than three or more than five Members; and the Chairman and the majority of Members shall be from amongst the Ruling Family.

39Article 17

40The financial emoluments of the Emir as well as the funds allocated for gifts and assistance shall be determined by a resolution issued annually by the Emir.

41PART TWO

42The Guiding Principles of the Society

43Article 18

44The Qatari society is based on the values of justice, benevolence, freedom, equality, and high morals.

45Article 19

46The State shall maintain the pillars of the society and ensure security, stability, and equal opportunities for all citizens.

47Article 20

48The State shall strive to strengthen the spirit of national unity, cooperation, and fraternity among all citizens.

49Article 21

50The family is the basis of the society. A Qatari family is founded on religion, ethics, and patriotism. The law shall regulate adequate means to protect the family, support its structure, strengthen its ties, and protect maternity, childhood, and old age.

51Article 22

52The State shall provide care for the young, and protect the same from corruption, exploitation, evils of physical, mental and spiritual neglect. The State shall also create conducive circumstances for developing their capabilities in all fields based on sound education.

53Article 23

54The State shall foster public health; provide means of prevention from diseases and epidemics and their cure in accordance with the law.

55Article 24

56The State shall foster, preserve and help disseminate sciences, arts, cultural and national heritage, and encourage scientific research.

57Article 25

58Education is one of the basic pillars of social progress. The state shall ensure, foster, and endeavor to spread it.

59Article 26

60Ownership, capital and labour constitute the foundation of the social structure of the State; and the same are individual rights with a social function and which shall be regulated by the law.

61Article 27

62Private property is inviolable; and no one shall be deprived of his property save by reason of public benefit and in the cases prescribed by the law and in the manner stated therein provided that the person concerned is fairly compensated.

63Article 28

64The State shall guarantee freedom of economic enterprise on the basis of social justice and balanced cooperation between private and public activity in order to achieve socio-economic development, increase in production, achieve public welfare, raise standard of living, and provide job opportunities in accordance with the provisions of the law.

65Article 29

66Natural wealth and its resources are the property of the State; and the State shall preserve and exploit the same in the best manner in accordance with the provisions of the law.

67Article 30

68The employee-employer relationship shall be based on the ideals of social justice and shall be regulated by law.

69Article 31

70The State shall encourage investment and shall provide the necessary guarantees and facilities for it.

71Article 32

72The law shall regulate State loans.

73Article 33

74The State shall preserve the environment and its natural balance in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development for all generations.

75PART THREE

76Public Rights and Duties

77Article 34

78The Citizens of Qatar shall be equal in public rights and duties.

79Article 35

80All persons are equal before the law and there shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of sex, race, language, or religion.

81Article 36

82Personal freedom shall be guaranteed and no person may be arrested, detained, searched, neither may his freedom of residence and mobility be restricted save under the provisions of the law; and no person may be subjected to torture, or any degrading treatment; and torture shall be considered a crime punishable by law.

83Article 37

84The sanctity of human privacy shall be inviolable, and therefore interference into privacy of a person, family affairs, home of residence, correspondence, or any other act of interference that may demean or defame a person may not be allowed save as limited by the provisions of the law stipulated therein.

85Article 38

86No citizen shall be banished neither shall he be denied re-entry to his country.

87Article 39

88An accused person is presumed innocent until his conviction is proved before a count of law wherein the necessary guarantees of the right of self-defense are secured.

89Article 40

90No crime and no punishment save as prescribed by the law and no penalty save on the acts committed subsequent to the enforcement of that law; and punishment is personal. The provisions of the laws shall have no effect save on the acts committed from the date of the enforcement of the said laws. These provisions shall have no effect on the acts which occurred prior to the enforcement of the said laws; however, it may be stipulated otherwise by a majority of two- thirds of Al-Shoura Council in case of non-criminal provisions.

91Article 41

92The Qatari nationality and the rules governing it shall be prescribed by law, and the same shall have the similar power as that of the constitution.

93Article 42

94The State shall ensure the right of citizens to elect and be elected in accordance with the law.

95Article 43

96Taxes shall be founded on social justice and henceforth may not be levied save by a law.

97Article 44

98The right of the citizens to assemble is guaranteed in accordance with the provisions of the law.

99Article 45

100The right of citizens to establish association is guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and circumstances set forth in the law.

101Article 46

102Individuals have the right to address public authorities.

103Article 47

104Freedom of expression of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and circumstances set forth in the law.

105Article 48

106Freedom of press, printing and publication shall be guaranteed in accordance with law.

107Article 49

108All citizens have the right to education; and the State shall endeavor to make general education compulsory and free of charge in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations of the State.

109Article 50

110Freedom to practice religious rites shall be guaranteed to all persons in accordance with the law and the requirements of the maintenance of public order and morality.

111Article 51

112The right of inheritance shall be maintained and governed by Shari'a law.

113Article 52

114Every person who is a legal resident of the State shall enjoy protection to his person and property in accordance with the provisions of the law.

115Article 53

116Defending the country is a duty of every citizen.

117Article 54

118The public post is a national service; and a public employee shall make public interest his only objective when performing the duties of his post.

119Article 55

120Public funds are inviolable and its protection is a duty of everyone in accordance with the law.

121Article 56

122General confiscation of property is prohibited. The penalty of confiscation of private property shall only be imposed by a court judgment and in cases specified by the law.

123Article 57

124The respect of the Constitution, compliance with the laws issued by Public Authority, abiding by public order and morality, observing national traditions and established customs is a duty of all who reside in the State of Qatar or enter its territory.

125Article 58

126Extradition of political refugees is prohibited; and the law shall determine conditions of granting political asylum.

127PART FOUR

128Organization of Powers

129Chapter One: General Provisions

130Article 59

131The people are the source of power, and they shall exercise the same in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

132Article 60

133The system of Government is based on the separation of powers and shall be exercised in collaboration with the manner specified in this Constitution.

134Article 61

135The Legislative Authority shall be vested in Al-Shoura Council as prescribed in this Constitution.

136Article 62

137The Executive Authority shall be vested in the Emir and he shall be assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified in this Constitution.

138Article 63

139The Judicial Authority shall be vested in courts of law as prescribed in this Constitution; and court judgments shall be pronounced in the name of the Emir.

140Chapter Two:The Emir

141Article 64

142The Emir is the head of State. His person shall be inviolable and he must be respected by all.

143Article 65

144The Emir is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He shall supervise the same with the assistance of Defence Council under his direct authority. The said Council shall be constituted by an Emiri Resolution, which will also determine the functions thereof.

145Article 66

146The Emir shall represent the State internally and externally and in all international relations.

147Article 67

148The Emir shall discharge the following functions:

1491. Drawing up the general policy of the State with the assistance of the Council of Ministers;

1502. Ratification and promulgation of laws; and no such law may be issued unless it is ratified by the Emir;

1513. Summoning the Council of Ministers to convene at any time deemed necessary for public interest; and the Emir shall preside over the meetings of the Council of Ministers that he attends;

1524. Appointment of civil servants and military personnel and terminating their service in accordance with the law;

1535. Accrediting diplomatic and consular missions;

1546. Granting pardon or commuting penalty in accordance with the law;

1557. Conferring civilian and military orders and badges of honour in accordance with the law;

1568. Establishment and organization of ministries and other Government bodies and specifying their functions;

1579. Establishment and organization of such consultative bodies to assist him in directing, supervising, and specifying the functions of the high policies of the State;

15810. Any other functions vested upon him by this Constitution or the law.

159Article 68

160The Emir shall conclude treaties and agreements by a decree and refer them to Al-Shoura Council accompanied with appropriate explanatory notes. The treaty or agreement shall have the power of law after ratification and publication in the official Gazette; however, reconciliation treaties and treaties pertaining to the territory of the State or those relating to the right of sovereignty or public or private rights of the citizens, or those that involve an amendment of the laws of the State shall come into force when the same are issued as a law. Under no case may a treaty include secret conditions contradicting its publicized conditions.

161Article 69

162The Emir may, be a decree, declare Martial Laws in the country in the event of exceptional cases specified by the law; and in such cases, he may take all urgent necessary measures to counter any threat that undermine the safety of the State, the integrity of its territories or the security of its people and interests or obstruct the organs of the State from performing their duties. However, the decree must specify the nature of such exceptional cases for which the martial laws have been declared and clarify the measures taken to address this situation. Al-Shoura Council shall be notified of this decree within the fifteen days following its issue; and in the event that the Council is not in session for any reason whatsoever, the Council shall be notified of the decree at its first convening. Martial laws shall be declared for a limited period and the same shall not be extended unless approved by Al-Shoura Council.

163Article 70

164The Emir may, in the event of exceptional cases that require measures of utmost urgency which necessitate the issue of special laws and in case that Al-Shoura Council is not in session, issue pertinent decrees that have the power of law. Such decree-laws shall be submitted to Al-Shoura Council at its first meeting; and the Council may within a maximum period of forty days from the date of submission and with a two-thirds majority of its Members reject any of these decree-laws or request amendment thereof to be effected within a specified period of time; such decree-laws shall cease to have the power

165of law from the date of their rejection by the Council or where the period for effecting the amendments have expired.

166Article 71

167Defensive war shall be declared by an Emiri decree and aggressive war is prohibited.

168Article 72

169The Emir shall appoint the Prime Minister, accept his resignation and remove him from office by an Emiri order; and the resignation of the Prime Minister or his removal from office shall entail all Ministers. In the event of acceptance or resignation or removal from the office, the same Council shall continue to run urgent matters until such time the new Council is appointed.

170Article 73

171The Emir shall appoint Ministers by an Emiri Order upon nomination by the Prime Minister; and he shall accept resignations of Ministers and relieve them from office in a like manner. Where a resignation of a minister has been accepted, the Minister may be entrusted with running urgent matters until his successor is appointed.

172Article 74

173The Emir shall take the following oath prior to the discharge of his functions in a special session convened by Al-Shoura Council:

174The Emir shall take the following oath prior to the discharge of his functions in a special session convened by Al-Shoura Council:

175(I swear by Almighty God to respect Sharia law, the Constitution and the law, protect the independence of the State, safeguard its territorial integrity, and defend the freedom and interests of its people).

176Article 75

177The Emir shall seek public opinion on important issues pertaining to the interests of the State in a referendum. The subject of such referendum shall be deemed acceptable if acknowledged by the majority of voters; and the results of the referendum shall be binding and effective from the date of its announcement. The results shall be published in the official Gazette.

178Chapter Three: The Legislative Authority

179Article 76

180Al-Shoura Council shall assume the legislative authority, approve the general policy of the Government, the budget, and it shall exercise control over the executive authority as specified in this Constitution.

181Article 77

182Al-Shoura Council shall consist of forty-five Members thirty of whom shall be elected by direct, general secret ballot; and the Emir shall appoint the remaining fifteen Members from amongst the Ministers or any other persons. The term of service of the appointed Members in Al-Shoura Council shall expire when these Members resign their seats or are relieved from their posts.

183Article 78

184The system of election shall be determined by law in which the conditions and procedure of nomination and election are specified.

185Article 79

186The electoral constituencies into which the State is divided and the districts thereof shall be determined by a decree.

187Article 80

188The member of Al-Shoura council should fulfill the following conditions:

1891. To be a holder of an original Qatari nationality;

1902. His age shall not be less than thirty calendar years at the closing date of nomination;

1913. To be good in reading and writing Arabic;

1924. Not to have been convicted by a competent court of law for an offense involving moral turpitude or dishonesty unless rehabilitated in accordance with the law; and

1935. Eligible to vote as determined in the elections law.

194Article 81

195The term of Al-Shoura Council shall be four calendar years commencing from the date of the first meeting; and the elections of the new Council shall be conducted during the last ninety days of the aforementioned term. The Member whose term of service expires may be re-elected; and where the elections are not held at the expiry of the term of the Council or delayed for any reason whatsoever, the term of the Council shall remain intact until a new Council is elected. The legislative term shall not be extended save for necessity and by decree provided that the said extension shall not exceed the period of one legislative term.

196Article 82

197The law shall determine the competent Judicial Authority that shall decide on the validity of the Members' election of Al-Shoura Council.

198Article 83

199Where for any reason a seat of one of the elected Members of Al-Shoura Council falls vacant at least six months before the term of the Council expires, a successor shall be elected within two months from the date of notification of such vacancy. Where, on the other hand, a seat of an appointed Member falls vacant, a new Member shall be appointed to fill the vacancy. In both cases, the new Member shall complete the term of his predecessor.

200Article 84

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