Middle East

NHRC: Gulf blockade violates Qatari students' rights

Rights Committee says 'unjust siege' impacts the right to education for Qatari students in Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain.

Qatar has been hit by a land, air and sea blockade from three neighbouring countries [Al Jazeera]

A human rights body in Qatar says it has monitored several serious violations against Qatari students in three neighbouring countries amid a major regional fallout, according to a report on state media.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade against it on June 5 over allegations that it funds "terrorism".

The three Arab Gulf countries, along with Egypt, who have severed relations, have not provided any evidence for their claims, while Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations as "baseless".

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Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), which has previously called the moves against Qatar "worse than the Berlin Wall", said that the "unjust siege" was impacting the right to education for Qatari students in the three countries, and especially in the UAE, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Monday.

QNA said that the rights body had "noted that these violations were shown in several ways, such as not allowing Qatari students to complete exams at the end of the academic year, and refused to give them certificates of graduation and the closure of their educational accounts as well as the termination of their registration arbitrarily without giving reasons".

The NHRC said it had filed a series of complaints to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) according to QNA.

It also urged universities and educational institutions in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to put aside political differences and take into account the rights of Qatari students and not put obstacles in the way of their right to education.

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The committee has previously called for an immediate and unconditional lifting of the blockade on Qatar, describing it as "collective punishment" that resulted in "tearing up families".

"The siege can not be subject to restrictions or conditions because it is in contravention of international agreements and human rights conventions," it said.

"It should, therefore, be lifted immediately and unconditionally."

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies