Ayman Adly/ Staff Reporter
The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) of Qatar will continue to document violations of the blockading nations, lodge complaints and raise the issue of the suffering of the victims at all international human rights platforms, chairman Dr Ali bin Sumaikh al-Marri announced on Monday.
"The steps initiated by the NHRC at all levels have had a significant impact in reducing the escalation of human rights violations committed by the blockading countries against Qataris and residents of Qatar through the past year of the Gulf crisis," he asserted at a press conference.
Dr al-Marri was reviewing the NHRC's efforts since the blockade was launched against Qatar on June 5, 2017, by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
"The quick action of the NHRC at the local and international platforms, in addition to engaging the regional and international organisations concerned have put the blockading countries in an embarrassing situation," he said.
Dr al-Marri pointed out that these countries started by denying any existence of such violations, then as their actions were exposed, they started to contradict their former statements by promising to address and treat the involved violations.
"However, ultimately most of them have so far failed to take any serious action to redress such violations. For instance, Saudi Arabia still creates hurdles against the right of Qataris and the residents of Qatar to practice the sacred religious rites of the Haj pilgrimage to Makkah, using it as a means to pressure civilians for immediate political targets.
"The NHRC is working to prosecute Saudi Arabia locally, regionally and internationally for the psychological damage caused to pilgrims and material losses to the campaigns, due to the politicisation of religious rituals," he declared.
The NHRC chief described the blockade as not only a challenge, but also a powerful opportunity for Qatar to promote the human rights situation by joining the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in addition to a number of legislations this year. "We encourage the state to move forward in this path," he urged.
Dr al-Marri pointed out that prolonging of the situation constitutes a serious threat to the stability and security of the region, which would in turn negatively influence world peace as most European countries and the US have called for a speedy resolution of the crisis to maintain a stable and united GCC council.
"We have addressed our colleague organisations and entities in the blockading countries about the situation and on a personal level they have expressed their dissatisfaction of what their countries have done but officially they did not respond due to the restrictions imposed by their governments," he said.
Throughout the past year of the blockade the NHRC was active in five different legal courses to maintain the rights of the victims and redress the violations. A total of 4,105 complaints were received over the past one year of the blockade. They were submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs each according to their mandate. While six Special Rapporteurs issued urgent appeals to Bahrain and the UAE, seven appealed to Saudi Arabia.
"These communications are considered as expression of condemnation, which puts great pressure on those countries and proves that Qatar has been subjected to unilateral arbitrary measures," the official said.
Regarding quasi-judicial proceedings, Dr al-Marri recalled that the NHRC and some organisations concerned have resorted to the treaty bodies, and specialised international agencies.
"Due to the confidentiality of these procedures, we cannot talk about the details or make any statement about them," he clarified.
The NHRC chief said that Qatari citizens have been targeted by the Saudi authorities while traveling outside, including illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, and forced disappearance. Similarly, mixed families are considered the most affected by the blockade.
Answering reporters questions about the status of two Qatari citizens detained by the Saudi Authorities, he said Nawaf Talal Rashid is still detained and there are intensive efforts to know about his situation. There is also co-ordination with the UN High Human Rights Commissioner, who described his situation as involuntary disappearance. The European Parliament has issued a recommendation to follow up his case.
The other Qatari, Muhssin al-Kerbi, was detained in Yemen by the coalition forces, the Saudi forces in particular, and the NHRC knew he was detained in Yemen by the legitimate government.
"Accordingly, the NHRC holds the Yemeni government and Saudi Arabia fully accountable for his safety and well being. Efforts are going on to secure their safe return."
Regarding the situation with the UAE, he said that some Qataris were detained when they were on visit but all of them were eventually released.
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