*Al-Marri meets Austrian Ombudsman Council officials
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri has met with officials of the Austrian Ombudsman Council, a national human rights institution in Austria.
The meeting discussed means of enhancing cooperation between the two sides in exchanging expertise and training, and promoting the culture of human rights.
Officials of the Austrian Ombudsman Council praised the achievements of the NHRC in the field of protection and promotion of human rights, both locally and regionally, and once again winning the confidence of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions by being granted Class A accreditation of the Paris Principles.
In a press statement after the meeting, the NHRC chief called on civil society organisations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to hold a series of consultations and meetings to develop the human rights system in the Gulf, pointing out that a year and a half of the siege of Qatar has exposed the limited human rights and conflict resolution system in the GCC states.
He reiterated the conviction of the NHRC that any result or decision that might emerge from the GCC summit in Riyadh cannot succeed unless the repercussions of the unjust siege imposed on Qatar and the violations suffered by thousands of citizens and residents of Qatar, and even the people of the siege countries, would be at the forefront of the concerns and discussions of the GCC leaders.
Al-Marri said the GCC was established as a basis for asserting the unity of the Gulf people. However, the discriminatory and arbitrary measures imposed by the blockading countries on Qatar have caused a deep blow to the social fabric of the Gulf. He pointed out that with every additional day, the rift and gap between the Gulf countries are increasing, and the sufferings of the people, who have paid the biggest price for this unjust siege, is increasing.
He stressed that the unity of the GCC begins with preserving the unity of its people and the cohesion of the Gulf social fabric, and that other failures of the council in the field of human rights and conflict resolution cannot be allowed.
In response to reporters' questions about the importance of decisions that could emerge from the Riyadh summit, Dr. Ali bin Smaikh al- Marri said: "No decisions in the security, economic and social fields can be meaningful or respond to the aspirations of the Gulf people unless the next summit declares mechanisms to redress the victims of the crisis and to ensure that the human tragedy would not be repeated again."
He said it is impossible to ignore the fact that the siege imposed on Qatar harmed the people more than it harmed the governments. He stressed the importance of GCC leaders taking advantage of the summit to heal the Gulf rift as well as their agreement on new procedures and mechanisms in the council's rules of procedure to ensure respect for the principle of non-use of people as a tool to address political differences in the future.
He said the NHRC will not stop its efforts in this direction until the victims are redressed, calling for the leaders to seize the opportunity of the summit.
According to the NHRC chief, the failure of the human rights system in the GCC countries is partly responsible for the current human rights situation in the Gulf countries. He called on civil society organisations and national human rights institutions to hold a series of consultations and meetings to develop an effective human rights system in the GCC states.