NHRC urges global move to lift siege on Qatar
December 07 2017 09:30 PM


The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has called on the international community to promptly move to lift the siege imposed on the State of Qatar and exert all possible efforts to alleviate its repercussions on the citizens and residents of the country as well as citizens of the three Gulf siege countries.

In its fourth comprehensive report issued today by the United Nations and its Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, NHRC called for pushing the siege countries to stop the violations caused by the siege and the unilateral arbitrary decisions and measures they have taken against Qatar, and to redress the victims and compensate them for the material and psychological damage that they suffered.

NHRC said in the report that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has to present reports and data documenting the different types of violations that affected a lot of people, particularly with regard to the displacement of families and the dire consequences for women and children following the disintegration of families.

The report also demands that these countries respect basic freedoms and called for submitting of a detailed report on these violations to the Human Rights Council, the special rapporteurs of states and contractual mechanisms in order to address them and ensure that they are not repeated.

The recommendations addressed to the special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council urged them to respond promptly to the committee's reports and victims' letters by issuing urgent appeals in this regard, in addition to recommending to the governments of the siege countries to lift the violations.

The committee also asked for field visits to the State of Qatar and the siege countries in order to identify human rights violations as a result of the siege and document them in periodic reports to be submitted to the Human Rights Council.

NHRC sent recommendations to the general secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, inviting its legal affairs sector, especially the human rights office, to call on the siege countries to lift the violations, provide relief to the victims and stop any new arbitrary measures.

The committee's report directed five recommendations to the siege countries, calling on them to abide by the commitments contained in the human rights conventions that they have ratified and acceded to, cease and address violations, respond to its reports as well as international reports, allow field visits by international organisations and missions to learn about the humanitarian cases, and the need to take the political side away from the humanitarian and social conditions and not using it as a pressure card in violation of international law and international human rights law.

The report also featured recommendations to the Qatari government, including the need to take all possible steps at the international level and the Security Council, international courts and arbitration committees to lift the siege on citizens and residents and provide relief to the victims, in addition to calling the on compensation committee to accelerate the litigation procedures and facilitate procedures for integrating students in Qatari universities and the educational system.

NHRC noted in its report that the siege countries did not respond to reports submitted to them on the ongoing humanitarian and human rights violations caused by the siege since June, adding that it continues to prepare a series of reports on human rights violations due to the siege as well as monitoring and documenting the humanitarian consequences and the social and economic repercussions of the siege countries' decisions and measures.

The fourth NHRC report on the violations of the siege countries featured new testimonies of new victims whose basic rights were violated by the siege countries, in addition to the efforts and moves the committee has taken to monitor and document the violations and address international entities and rights groups to urge them to promptly move to put an end to violations against citizens and residents of Qatar as well as citizens of the three Gulf siege countries.

In its report, NHRC addressed some 450 human rights organisations and international and regional government and non-government organisations, calling for urgent action to address the effects of the humanitarian crisis caused by the siege.

It also paid 33 visits to European and international capitals and received several government and non-government international human rights organizations and parliamentary delegations to brief them on the violations against the State of Qatar by the siege countries and the human rights violations that affected family reunification, education, property, movement, residence, the exercise of religious rites, health and work.

On the other hand, the report pointed out that the Qatari government did not take any similar actions against the citizens of the siege countries and that the committee did not receive any complaints in this regard.

As part of its permanent efforts to tackle the violations, the committee said it addressed the Saudi National Society for Human Rights, the Emirates Association for Human Rights and the National Council for Human Rights in Egypt, and received no responses from them, except for the National Council for Human Rights in Egypt, which dealt positively with the committee's letter.

The committee said it unsuccessfully tried to communicate with the National Institution for Human Rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The NHRC report noted that the committee received 3,970 complaints since the beginning of the siege, including 504 violations of the right to education, 1,174 of the right to property, 629 of the right to family reunification, 1,261 of the right to freedom of movement, 37 of the right to health, 163 of the right to practice religious rites, 109 violations of the right to work, and 93 of the right to residence.

NHRC also received some 236 Qatari students studying in universities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain who suddenly found themselves deprived of the right to finish their studies.

They were forced to leave and return to their country after these countries decided to sever ties with Qatar on June 5.

On the other hand, NJHRC found that Qatari universities have integrated some 64 students affected by the siege, while the Ministry of Education and Higher Education made some exceptions for other students because of the siege.

In addition, the NHRC's fourth report on the violations of the siege countries mentioned the testimonies of those affected by serious violations of human rights whether Qatari nationals or citizens of the three Gulf siege countries.

In the media field, NHRC recorded 103 cases of media personnel who are citizens of the three countries who used to work at a number of Qatari media outlets, who were all subjected to different types of violations, including pressure to force them to resign, which forced 10 journalists to acquiesce.

The siege countries have also blocked Qatari channels, both government and private.

The report also noted that the Saudi authorities continue to place obstacles in the way of Qatari citizens and residents to perform religious rituals.

It pointed out that the policy of politicizing religious rituals has caused substantial financial damage to Qatar since the beginning of the siege.

The NHRC report stressed that the governments of the siege countries have violated, through their arbitrary decisions and illegal measures, several basic rules, laws and principles of international human rights law.

The siege countries flagrantly violated in this regard many articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in addition to articles in other instruments, most notably the Arab Charter on Human Rights, the Human Rights Declaration of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the economic agreement between the GCC countries and also the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation by banning Qatari civil air traffic over their territories without any justification or military necessity or reasons of public security for that measure.

The report concluded with a number of pressing recommendations to put an end to the violations of the siege countries.

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