Hind Al Balooki

"Every adult person, male or female, must have the right to self-determination, and no one should be allowed to overrule an individual’s choices about their own lives..." Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai

"Despite the carefully crafted image the UAE presents to the world as a modern, liberal country; the fact is that the patriarchal culture and informal male guardianship rules in the Emirates are just as pervasive as in Saudi Arabia. The treatment of women in the UAE, whether foreigners or locals, can be unimaginably harsh. Emirati women continue to need their guardians’ permission to work, to travel, or even to step foot outside their own homes, if the male relative chooses to be particularly restrictive."
Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai

Business ownership, voting, owning property, working, going to school, and yes, even driving, are all available to women in Qatar only if their husband, father or brother allows.

Understandably, many Qatari women do not share the West’s admiring view of their country’s treatment of women. Aisha Al Qahtani famously fled to the UK to avoid being forced to return to Doha; just as so many others have fled Qatar’s neighbours.

“It is really quite appalling,” says Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and founder of Due Process International, “Qatar can seemingly legislate rights for women, all the while winking to the country’s male population because nothing has actually changed. Every woman is ruled by her husband, father or brother regardless of what the law ostensibly provides. They talk about empowering women, but continue to treat them like children.”

Stirling has been involved assisting women escaping oppression in the Gulf as part of her 12 years human rights work in the gulf, including high profile cases such as Princess Latifa, Hind Al Balooki, Dua and Dalal Al-Shweiki and others.