By Ayman Adly/Staff reporter
Though Saudi Arabia has allowed its nationals holding Qatar residency to remain in Qatar, Qataris having Saudi Unified National Number are not allowed to return to Saudi, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) chairman said yesterday in Doha.
“Many such Qataris have business and properties in Saudi Arabia,” Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri told a press conference convened to brief about the consequences of the blockade on human rights.
“Some of the Saudi citizens residing in Qatar have jobs in the private and the public sectors. They can also cross the land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” he explained.
Saudi authorities have also allowed its nationals studying in Qatar to remain in the country, according to him. “Though Saudi authorities allowed Qatari students studying in Saudi Arabia to continue their education, there is not yet any clear strategy for implementing such positive steps and it is left to the estimation of the Saudi border officers.
“The situation with the UAE and Bahrain remains the same with no positive development. Qataris are still denied access to their property, businesses and interests in these countries. There is still discrimination against Qatari students in the UAE in particular as, at least one case has registered for a Qatari student denied registration just for being a Qatari citizen,” the NHRC chief pointed out.
Kuwaiti and Omani citizens are still denied crossing from Saudi Arabia to Qatar through the land border. As many as 3,269 complaints have been received by the NHRC regarding various violations of human rights due to the blockade since the issue started on June 5. Dr al-Marri stressed that human rights-wise the blockade could be considered as a collective punishment for the people of the region denying them some of their basic human rights such as the right to free movement and ownership.
Starting from June 11, the NHRC asked the blockade countries to open the borders and airways to the people of the region, especially the common families of the GCC countries. “We asked that there should be a clear decision regarding the situation of those families,” he stressed.
He said that communications have been made with senior GCC officials in this respect and other related rights, but it seems “they have been on open leave, including the GCC Secretary General.”
Regarding the support offered to the Qatari students harmed due to the blockade, Dr al-Marri pointed out that both Qatar University and the Education City have given them great support and eased the procedures for them to continue their education.
The number of such students who submitted complaints at NHRC is 206, with 53 in Saudi Arabia, 126 in the UAE and 27 in Bahrain. The number of complaints regarding property rights amounted to 1008, with 616 in Saudi Arabia, 344 in the UAE and 48 in Bahrain.
NHRC also registered various complaints regarding the rights of people with disability though the Saudi have a system in place where such category of people can raise personal complaints.
NHRC has addressed the issue of the involved human rights complaints at the Arab League and received an assurance that the issue will be discussed with the Arab League Secretary General. But there has been no clear development yet.
Dr al-Marri added that there is co-ordination with Compensations Claims Committee and the international law firm concerned and details would be announced in due course.
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