* NHRC chief calls on Germany to discuss siege countries' violations at Human Rights Council
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, has called on the German government, as a member of the Human Rights Council, to raise the issue of the serious repercussions of the siege imposed on Qatar at the council's next session due to be held at the end of this month.
This came during Dr al-Marri's meeting with the head of the Middle East Division at the German Foreign Ministry, Gerhard Schlaudraff, in the presence of senior officials of the Department of Human Rights and the Middle East Department.
Al-Marri explained the most important repercussions of the siege and its grave human rights violations, in the absence of any intention by the siege countries to resolve the crisis, or to respond to the calls of international human rights organisations for the immediate cessation of the suffering of those affected by it, as well as ignoring the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and questioning the credibility and integrity of the Commission.
Al-Marrri told the German official that "Germany is an active member of the Human Rights Council and we hope that the German government would raise the issue of the blockade and its humanitarian implications on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council at its next session in Geneva at the end of this month."
He expressed the hope that the German government would raise the issue of serious violations of the siege countries at the table of the European Union and its foreign affairs and human rights committees in the world, and that the file of violations is strongly present during the meetings of the European Union countries with the siege countries and urged them to respect human rights as a priority that precedes any political or economic agreements within the framework of the bilateral relations of those countries with the European Union."
Al-Marri also told the officials of the German Foreign Ministry that the NHRC also intends to send letters and hold meetings with several delegates of the Human Rights Council during the next meeting in Geneva in order to issue a resolution condemning the violations of the siege countries and press for taking into account the conclusions of the report of the technical mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which called for the need to stop the arbitrary and discriminatory measures of the siege countries.
Al-Marri also praised the position of the German government and people on the unjust siege imposed on Qatar since the beginning of the crisis.
He pointed out that Germany was one of the first countries to declare a strong and clear position by rejecting the siege and demanded the need to sit at the table for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
He also praised the attention given to the NHRC delegation during its visit to Berlin and the keenness of officials in the German government and parliament to hear the NHRC report on the latest developments on the repercussions of the siege.
He also appreciated the German Foundation for Human Rights' concern for the repercussions of the crisis and its support for the NHRC's efforts to stop the violations caused by the siege.
Al-Marri said that ending the suffering of the victims of the siege is an urgent priority for the NHRC and it should not be linked to the path of the political solution to the crisis.
During his meeting with representatives of newspapers and media in the German capital of Berlin, al-Marri spoke about the NHRC's priorities in its efforts that have been underway for eight months since the siege began.
He explained that the committee will not stop its efforts, and will not give up its commitments to the families of victims of the siege, to defend their rights, and follow up all possible legal procedures to redress them, noting that the NHRC was surprised by the volume of complaints that flowed since the early hours of its announcement to open a hotline to receive complaints and meet the affected at its headquarters, where thousands of Qataris and Gulf citizens who were panicked by the collective punishment measures imposed by the siege countries.
He said that what the siege countries did had never happened in the history of the peoples of the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, even in the Gulf crisis in 2014, where harsh measures had not been taken to punish the peoples of the Gulf under the pretext of political differences with a sisterly and neighbouring country.
Al-Marri noted that the NHRC continues to receive complaints and co-ordinates with the Compensation Committee to ensure legal and judicial issues to redress the victims.
He added that the committee has received about 4,000 complaints from those affected since the beginning of the crisis.
In response to a question about why the siege countries prevent the movement of people, al-Marri said that the blockading countries resorted to punish citizens with harsh decisions to put pressure on governments in the hope that these pressures would contribute to stirring up internal unrest in Qatar, but the fact that all the peoples of the Gulf and not just the people of Qatar rejected the measures, so these countries rushed to impose strict laws to prevent the mere sympathy with Qatar or to oppose the decision of the siege.
On his vision for resolving the crisis, al-Marri said: "The solution of the crisis begins by lifting the injustice of the victims of the siege immediately and unconditionally, pointing out that the siege countries harmed the people and used them as a pressure card to achieve political ends.
"I told the officials of the human rights institutions of the siege countries that people should not be taken hostage."
He noted that the siege countries' claim that the crisis does not target human rights, but the reports of human rights organisations, and the report of the High Commission that visited Qatar, all confirmed that the blockade harms citizens and residents.
Speaking to reporters, al-Marri said: "We are addressing you because you are keen on the truth, and you can ask the siege countries' officials, why do they use the people as a tool to settle political accounts."