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Article

21 Nov 2022

Author:
Simon Murphy, Independent (UK)

Qatar: HRW says Google & Apple should urge authorities to end travel restrictions against women after "facilitating" discrimination through Ministry of Interior app

"Google and Apple’s role in Qatari app that lets men stop women from leaving the country", 20 Nov 2022

Google and Apple have been accused of facilitating discrimination by making an app available for download that men can use to stop unmarried Qatari women aged under 25 from leaving the country...

The Qatari Ministry of Interior (MOI) app Metrash2 is available on Apple’s app store and Google Play – it has been downloaded more than a million times on the latter platform...

Apple and Google declined to comment...

“Tech giants have to get a grip on how the apps that sit on their platforms are actually used and the harms they can cause. By making apps such as Metrash2 available in its current form, they lend legitimacy of their brands to legalised gender discrimination, in this case against young women in Qatar.”
James Lynch, co-director of human rights group FairSquare
“Google and Apple should strongly urge the Qatari authorities to end discriminatory travel restrictions on women. Companies should always assess apps to determine whether they might undermine or violate rights, with extra scrutiny for apps developed or sponsored by governments. They should also revise their terms of service to prohibit apps expressly designed to violate rights and make every effort to mitigate any human rights harm before making such apps available."
Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at HRW