Qatar continues to face global condemnation from LGBTQ+ rights groups for their treatment of LGBTQ+ people ahead of the nation hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to a new Human Rights Watch report, security police in Qatar has continued to arrest and harass individuals because of their sexuality and gender identity, with victims telling the organisation that such mistreatment has continued to occur as recently as September 2022.

The incidents, which include six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022, follow promises and commitments from the Qatar government that LGBTQ+ fans would be safe during the upcoming FIFA World Cup.



Human Rights Watch claim that during these incidents, Qatar Preventive Security Department forces targeted and arrested people solely based on their sexuality and gender identity while unlawfully searching their phones.

According to Human Rights Watch, as a requirement for their release, security forces mandated that transgender women detainees attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored “behavioural healthcare” centre.

“While Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBT people simply for who they are, apparently confident that the security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked,” explained Rasha Younes, an LGBTQ+ rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Qatari authorities need to end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching.”

Thanks to the help of Doctor Nasser Mohamed, an openly gay Qatari activist, Human Rights Watch interviewed six LGBTQ+ Qataris, including four transgender women, one bisexual woman, and one gay man.

All six interviewed explained that Preventive Security Department officers detained the victims in an underground prison in Al Dafneh, Doha.

They were then verbally harassed and subjected to physical abuse, including slapping, kicking and punching until they bled, all intending to extract forced confessions. One woman said she lost consciousness.

“I saw many other LGBT people detained there: two Moroccan lesbians, four Filipino gay men, and one Nepalese gay man,” the woman said.

“I was detained for three weeks without charge, and officers repeatedly sexually harassed me. Part of the release requirement was attending sessions with a psychologist who ‘would make me a man again.’”

The recent report flies in the face of a 2020 promise when Qatar assured prospective visitors that it would welcome LGBTQ+ visitors and that fans would be free to fly the rainbow flag at the World Cup football games.