Call to find fate of missing Qatari citizens in Saudi
February 24 2019 12:06 AM
NHRC Chairman HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri speaking at a hearing at the European Parliament.
NHRC Chairman HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri speaking at a hearing at the European Parliament.


*NHRC urges European Parliament to send fact-finding mission to Saudi

Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri has called on the European Parliament to send a fact-finding mission to Saudi Arabia to know the fate of three Qatari nationals who disappeared there since the beginning of Qatar's blockade on June 5 of 2017.

He called on the Qatari government to take all legal measures to pursue their fate and demand their immediate release, and to go to the UN Security Council to file a complaint regarding the UAE's failure to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice.

Speaking at a hearing at the European Parliament, HE Dr al-Marri praised the initiative made by the parliament's human rights committee to hold a series of seminars to listen to the struggles of the blockade's victims.

He also praised the move of the European Parliament's Committee on Arab Peninsula Affairs for responding, albeit belatedly, to the victims' calls.

He highlighted the big attendance of the first hearing session, whether from parliamentarians or from the media.

He noted that the stories the attendees will listen to mirror the stories of thousands of other victims of the blockade, because they disappeared forcibly with no clarity provided on their fate.

He highlighted the case of three Qatari citizens who forcibly disappeared in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the blockade, and efforts made by the NHRC to push Saudi authorities to declare their fates ended in failure.

He called on the European Parliament to send a mission to Saudi Arabia in order to find out the fate of those Qatari citizens, and to pressure the Saudi government to release them.

He stressed that the NHRC had provided all the information on the identity of the three Qatari nationals requested by the relevant UN mechanisms, adding that the committee was in constant communication with the UN team concerned with forcible disappearance.

He added that the committee will continue its efforts in co-operation with other international legislative authorities in order to hold the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable and in order to pressure the country into releasing the Qatari citizens.

Dr al-Marri said that Saudi authorities were legally responsible for the fate of the three Qatari citizens, adding that the NHRC will not remain silent on the issue and will take all the legal and judicial measures to release the three citizens in question.

He added that the way those citizens were arrested was in clear violation of human rights and international law.

He concluded by saying that it is no longer possible to remain silent when facing Saudi Arabia's human rights violations, calling on the international community to move immediately to end those serious violations by Saudi Arabia and all the blockading countries.

Qatar's Ambassador to Belgium Abdulrahman bin Mohamed al-Khulaifi said that holding hearings for victims of the blockade helps creating a real understanding of the blockade crisis that faces Qatar.

He said that many MPs expressed their shock at what they heard.

The ambassador stressed that Qatar was committed to dialogue and negotiations since the beginning of the crisis, stressing that the region has suffered from many wars and does not need more crises that civilians end up paying the price for.

Dr Wafaa al-Yazidi, meanwhile, discussed her suffering as a result of the blockade, saying she travelled from the US specifically to share her story with the European Parliament.

She said that her children are Bahraini nationals who lived with her in Europe and experienced what it was like to enjoy freedom without discrimination.

She added that her life turned upside down following the blockade, and called on the European Parliament to do what it can to move children away from political conflicts.

For her part, Qatari student Jawaher Mohamed al-Meer shared with the session her struggle after she was kicked out of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi after political ties with Qatar were severed.

She criticised the UAE for not carrying out the verdict of the International Justice Court despite promising to do so.

She added that she will not return to the UAE because officials there did not discuss that prospect with them.

She stressed that they penalised the people and not just the government of Qatar.

The MPs said that they were ready to act immediately to take effective measures that would put an end to the suffering of the victims of the blockade, highlighting that hearings had made them understand what had happened.

They also stressed their readiness to work to support Qatar, press to lift the blockade imposed on it, and take effective and strong measures to end the suffering of the victims.

European Parliament MP Isabella De Monte said that they can no longer stand silent to the humanitarian violations resulting from the blockade enforced on Qatar, stressing that the parliament will move to help the victims of the blockade.

She stressed that their better understanding of what is happening in Qatar will help them act, praising al-Yazidi as a courageous woman.

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