Qatar calls on UN to protect Gulf citizens’ rights

Doha calls for action from UN to end humanitarian crisis resulting from anti-Qatar steps taken by its neighbours.

Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri
The rights of more than 13,000 people have been directly violated by the blockade [Karim Jaafar/AFP]

Qatar’s human rights agency has discussed with a relevant UN body the humanitarian challenges resulting from the blockade imposed on the country, calling for action to stop rights violations.

Rashid Khalikov, assistant secretary general at UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), met in Doha on Thursday with Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, the chairman of the National Committee for Human Rights (NHRC).

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The two sides spoke about the unprecedented measures taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, classifying some of the Qatari humanitarian groups as “terrorist organisations” and directly violating rights of thousands of people by imposing travel restrictions.

Al Marri stressed that the measures were intended to obstruct the external humanitarian assistance provided by Qatar by smearing the reputation of its charitable organisations and obstructing their work.

He also said that the groups have partnerships with international humanitarian organisations such as the International Red Cross and the Humanitarian Affairs Office of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as well as the strong partnerships with their counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

He called for a prompt action by OCHA to stop those violations and unfair accusations against Qatari humanitarian organisations.

Over 13,000 people affected

According to a report released by NHRC on Thursday, the rights of more than 13,000 citizens of the four GCC countries involved in the crisis have been directly violated by the blockade.

In some cases, the actions taken by these states separated mothers from their children.

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Hundreds of complaints have been submitted to the NHRC by email, phone and hotlines, or personal visits to its headquarters in Doha.

On June 11, six days after the decision, Saudi Arabia issued a royal order to take into consideration the humanitarian situation of mixed families [Saudi-Qatar], then the UAE and Bahrain followed in its footsteps.

While NHRC appreciates this step and sees it as a step in the right direction, it also calls on the three states to clarify the implementation mechanism.

It emphasises that the decrees have to include all human rights and legal areas, and calls for ending the blockade and compensating the affected families and individuals.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies