Country report and updates: Qatar

Last revision: 31 Mar 1998
31 Mar 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Qatar has no conscription and has never had. [1]

Qatar does have the highest per capita military expenditure of any country in the world. [2]


The armed forces find it hard to obtain the requisite number of recruits. They are mainly composed of foreigners, Qatari citizens constitute only 30 percent of the total. About 20 nationalities are represented in the armed forces, mainly Pakistanis, Bedouins and various Arab groups. It is thought that, particularly since the 1991 Gulf War, more effort has been made to recruit Qatari citizens, as the reliability on foreign personnel in wartime is considered to be questionable. But there are no plans to introduce conscription. [2]

2 Conscientious objection

The right to conscientious objection is not legally recognized.

The government stated in 1992: "Enlistment in the armed forces and the police in the State of Qatar is optional and voluntary. Accordingly, the question of conscientious objection to military service does not arise in view of the non-compulsory nature of military service in the State." [1]

3 Desertion

No information available.

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 11,800-strong - more than 2 percent of the population. [3]


[1] UN Commission on Human Rights 1992. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1991/65 (and 3 Addendums). United Nations, Geneva. [2] US Library of Congress 1993. Persian Gulf States - a country study. Area Handbooks, State Department, Washington DC. [3] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Qatar

19 Jan 2018

For many years, it looked like obligatory military service was on the way out. But in the last five years, the picture has changed: Norway has extended conscription for women; Sweden has reintroduced conscription for all; Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania and Kuwait have reintroduced conscription for men after short hiatuses; Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have introduced conscription for the first time. We look at why governments are turning to compulsion in filling their armies, and what this means for pacifist movements.