Officers responsible for the forced gynecological and strip searches against women passengers from 10 Qatar Airways flights have already been referred for prosecution, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
On October 2, Qatari authorities recalled 18 women from their flights to undergo invasive tests without their consent.
Qatari authorities wanted to check if they’d recently given birth.
According to Qatar, a mother abandoned a newborn baby in the airport and buried the child under the garbage.
Moreover, the discovery prompted authorities to search for the mother.
In Qatar, giving birth out of wedlock is illegal.
The incident resulted in a widespread outrage after the news reached the international media.
Australia’s foreign minister, Maris Payne, even called the incident “offensive” and “grossly disturbing.”
Human Rights activists have also condemned the incident as equivalent to s*xual assault.
13 of the women forced to undergo the tests are Australian. Recently, New Zealand confirmed one of the victims is a Kiwi.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also condemned Qatar’s action as “completely unacceptable,” per NZ Herald.
A spokesperson from the Ministry said that New Zealand is making its “views known to Qatari authorities” and expects “a full report” on the incident.
Qatar has since apologized for the incident.
Qatar’s Issue On Women’s Rights
Qatar’s ultra-conservative society has made it hard for the country to reassure the international community of its commitment to deliver its promises to forward women’s rights.
The country is a signatory to multiple Conventions and Covenants on Human Rights.
However, when it comes to advancing women’s rights, Qatar is still falling behind.
In fact, it has made reservations on reforms to protect women in some UN Conventions.
In addition, Qatar’s domestic violence and “marital r*pe” is not a criminal offense making it more difficult to be a woman in the country.