CONSCRIPTION LAW IN­TRO­DUCED IN QATAR

Qatar Today - - DEVELOPMENT > VIEWPOINT - BY RUKHSANA KHAN

On March 11 Qatar's Na­tional Ser­vice Law was is­sued which came into force with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Abrief pe­riod of na­tional ser­vice is now com­pul­sory for all male Qatari na­tion­als be­tween the ages of 18 and 35, sub­ject to ex­cep­tions set out in the Law. The Law pro­vides for two types of ser­vice, ac­tive ser­vice and re­serve ser­vice.

Ac­tive ser­vice will in­clude a pe­riod of mil­i­tary train­ing and a pe­riod of ser­vice in one of the units of the armed forces. In gen­eral, male grad­u­ates with col­lege or univer­sity de­grees have to serve three months, while non-grad­u­ates and high school dropouts have to serve four months. For those cur­rently in col­lege or univer­sity, ac­tive ser­vice can be de­layed un­til their grad­u­a­tion or un­til they reach 33, which­ever is ear­lier.

Re­serve ser­vice fol­lows for the next 10 years, or un­til the age of 40, which­ever is ear­lier. A re­serve can be re­called for a train­ing pe­riod of up to 15 days and he can oth­er­wise be drafted if a gen­eral mo­bil­i­sa­tion order is is­sued by the Com­man­der Gen­eral of the Armed Forces (the Com­man­der Gen­eral), or if war or mar­tial law is de­clared by Emiri Order.

The Law pro­vides for a num­ber of ex­emp­tions, waivers and a one-year de­fer­ment of ac­tive ser­vice in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, based on the pub­lic in­ter­est or na­tional se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions. For ex­am­ple, only sons, sole bread­win­ners, and those cer­ti­fied med­i­cally un­fit for ser­vice are among those ex­empted. The Law also ex­empts govern­ment staff and em­ploy­ees of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions sub­ject to a re­quest from the con­cerned min­is­ter or head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion (as the case may be), and sub­ject to the ap­proval of the Com­man­der Gen­eral. Con­scripts can be al­lowed to con­tinue work­ing in their job dur­ing their pe­riod of ser­vice if it is re­quired in the pub­lic in­ter­est, sub­ject to a de­ci­sion of the Com­man­der Gen­eral.

Break­ing the Law or abet­ting a vi­o­la­tion will sub­ject the of­fender to penal­ties. These in­clude ex­tended na­tional ser­vice up to two months, one month's im­pris­on­ment and/or a heavy fine.

The Na­tional Ser­vice Law will im­pact em­ploy­ers across Qatar in several key ways:

Male na­tion­als can no longer be re­cruited (whether in the pub­lic or pri­vate sec­tor) un­less they have com­pleted (or been duly ex­empted from) the pre­scribed na­tional ser­vice.

Male na­tion­als are not al­lowed to con­tinue work­ing once they have re­ceived an order for na­tional ser­vice and they can­not re­turn to work un­til they sub­mit an of­fi­cial let­ter con­firm­ing com­ple­tion of na­tional ser­vice.

Em­ploy­ers must re­port any na­tional who ob­jects to be­ing reg­is­tered.

Con­scripts will be en­ti­tled to keep their job while serv­ing, with­out los­ing the in­cre­ments and pro­mo­tions to which they are oth­er­wise en­ti­tled.

Al­though the Law con­tem­plates that con­scripts will re­ceive re­mu­ner­a­tion while in ac­tive ser­vice, un­til of­fi­cial reg­u­la­tions are is­sued the amounts and other de­tails are not known. For the time be­ing, em­ploy­ers are ex­pected to con­tinue pay­ing their Qatari male em­ploy­ees as nor­mal while they are away serv­ing. For na­tion­als em­ployed in the pri­vate sec­tor, the Min­istry of De­fence will be re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the dif­fer­ence, if any, be­tween re­mu­ner­a­tion for na­tional ser­vice and their reg­u­lar salary. In the case of those em­ployed in the pub­lic sec­tor, their re­spec­tive em­ploy­ers will be re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing any such dif­fer­ence. It is not clear whether this means that em­ploy­ers will even­tu­ally be re­lieved of salary obli­ga­tions for pe­ri­ods of na­tional ser­vice. The po­si­tion should be­come clear once the reg­u­la­tions are is­sued.

Pro­ba­tion pe­ri­ods will not be ex­tended by pe­ri­ods of na­tional ser­vice. This is sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­ing that the max­i­mum pro­ba­tion pe­riod al­lowed by law is six months. Em­ploy­ers may now have to con­sider re­vis­ing their pro­ba­tion pol­icy if the pro­ba­tion pe­riod is less than six months.

Na­tional ser­vice will not break or in­ter­rupt em­ploy­ment ser­vice for any pur­pose in­clud­ing pen­sion and gra­tu­ity cal­cu­la­tion. Na­tional ser­vice dur­ing wartime may be treated as dou­ble ser­vice for re­tire­ment ben­e­fit pur­poses.

Any in­jury in­curred while serv­ing will be treated as an oc­cu­pa­tional in­jury sub­ject to the laws thereon, and com­pen­sa­tion for in­jury or death (whether dur­ing ac­tive duty or re­serve phase) will be sub­ject to the Mil­i­tary Ser­vice Law No. 31 of 2006 as amended.

The Min­istry of De­fence will form a body called the Na­tional Ser­vice Authority to ad­min­is­ter the Law and the Com­man­der Gen­eral will is­sue the or­ders, rules and de­ci­sions nec­es­sary to im­ple­ment the Law.

The train­ing ses­sion for the first batch of con­scripts, namely univer­sity grad­u­ates, will be held from 1 April to 1 July 2014. Ac­cord­ing to mil­i­tary of­fi­cials the re­sponse so far has been very pos­i­tive. It seems a large num­ber of young Qatari men are al­ready keen to serve their coun­try

"A young man who does not have what it takes to per­form mil­i­tary ser­vice is not likely to have what it takes to make a

liv­ing."

JOHN F KENNEDY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.