Information on some of the issues which affect young people including teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use and the legal implications in Qatar...
The consumption of alcohol in Qatar is a restricted practice, permitted only in certain licensed hotel bars. It is prohibited to drink alcohol in public places, and doing so is a serious, punishable offence, as is being drunk in public. As a result, it is important that parents and teenagers are made aware that the consequences of drinking alcohol in Qatar can be severe compared with in their home country.
The minimum age for gaining admission to a licensed hotel bar is 21, and a Qatar ID card must be presented as a proof of age. Alcohol can be purchased for home consumption, but only by an adult holder of a Liquor Licence. The licence can be applied for at the Qatar Distribution Company, located near the Qatar Technical College. The QDC is the only legal alcohol retailer in Doha.
Alcohol is not served or sold at licensed premises during Ramadan. There is also a zero tolerance approach to drink driving, with offences normally resulting in a custodial sentence.
Drug and solvent abuse is not tolerated in Qatar at any age, with severe prison sentences and deportation the likely punishments for those caught in possession. This includes traces in the bloodstream, which means that drugs consumed before entering the country also put the user at legal risk. Despite the tough stance, underground drug supply and abuse does exist in Qatar as it does in most countries, and so parents should be careful to make teenagers aware of the risks and consequences involved.
Support systems for drug abuse are not widespread in Qatar, so if a teenager does have a drug-related problem, then seeking help through the school or internationally may be the best option.
As with alcohol and drugs, there is no "grey area" in the eyes of the law when it comes to unmarried pregnancy. Sexual relations and pregnancy outside of marriage are strictly prohibited in Qatar. It is illegal for an unmarried woman of any age to have a baby in Qatar; non-Qataris in this position must leave the country to have their baby or else face deportation and possible jail. Abortion for non-medical reasons is also illegal.
Homosexuality is also illegal in Qatar. Even public displays of affection, such as kissing, are an offence.
For parents who are facing difficulties with any of the above issues but worried about legal implications of seeking advice in Qatar, turning to organisations based in their home countries may be an option to consider.