Peter Tatchell: The Full Qatar Story
Human Rights Icon Peter, tells students about recent experience
Human Rights campaigner and longstanding Friend of TBSHS, Peter Tatchell, returned to TBSHS yesterday to speak to the Sixth Form about his recent experience of organising and protesting in Qatar.
Peter spoke as part of a Citizenship lesson at TBSHS, which has a record of addressing challenging subject material in a respectful but thorough manner, as part of our wide-ranging and exacting Citizenship programme.
Speaking to the whole Sixth Form, Peter gave a brief resumé of his last 50 year of campaigning, before speaking in detail about his protest last month outside the National Museum of Qatar in Doha while staging a one-man protest against Qatar’s criminalisation of LGBT+ people – just 26 days before the start of the football World Cup.
This was the first ever public LGBT+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state.
Mr Tatchell was holding a placard supporting Qatari LGBT+ people who live under one of the most repressive regimes in the world that criminalises both male and female homosexuality, with sentences that can include three years jail and death by stoning. His placard read: “Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion’ #QatarAntiGay.” He wore a t-shirt with the hashtag: #QatarAntiGay. He also spoke about the Human Rights of Migrant Workers in Qatar, (6500 are believed to have died whilst building the stadia for the World Cup), and the Human Rights of Women, which are severely restricted in Qatar.
Peter held the students spellbound, as he described the planning and lengths he went to, in order to be able to make the protest, (Purchasing decoy plane tickets, hiding the placard in a newspaper carried by a colleague to avoid security searches, and a clandestine swap of the newspaper in a coffeeshop.) Plus, what happened when he was arrested an interrogated by the Qatari Security people.
Peter has been coming to TBSHS for over 10 years, and in that time has spoken on a wide range of Human Rights issues, which although not always universally supported by the public, have always been presented and discussed in a non-violent way.
Simon Etheridge, Subject Leader for RS and Citizenship said “It was a great honour to host Mr. Peter Tatchell once again. In a wonderful presentation, Mr. Tatchell inspired students and staff to show that they care and to act to make the world a better place. “Don’t leave it to others”, he said, “as they may be leaving it to you”. He talked about his history of inclusive campaigns for equality and human rights and urged all around the world to uphold The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which explicitly says that every person is entitled to equal treatment and protection against discrimination.