No dialogue before lifting siege and redressing victims: QNHRC

 08 Jan 2018 - 18:22

No dialogue before lifting siege and redressing victims: QNHRC

By Mohammed Osman | The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (QNHRC) yesterday called upon the government to avoid accepting any solution to the prevailing crisis or engaging in negotiations with the blockading countries before lifting of human rights violations and injustices and redressal of the sufferings of the victims caused by the repressive measures.

The QNHRC welcomed the report issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the impact of the Gulf crisis on human rights.

Speaking at news conference held at the headquarter of the NHRC, President of the QNHRC Dr Ali bin Sumikh Al Marri welcomed the report of the OHCHR Technical Mission on the impact of the Gulf crisis on human rights.

“We welcome the content of the report despite some observations regarding the statistics of the affected people, as well as insufficient attention to some violations,” Al Marri stressed.

The OHCHR team visited Qatar from November 17 to 24 and met representatives of 20 governmental and non-governmental organizations and interviewed 40 individuals to get a better understanding of their situation as victims of the blockade. The four countries imposing the siege on Qatar were refused to accept visit by the mission.

Dr Al Marri described the report as first of its kind issued by an international organization and as an important legal reference that reflects diplomatic and legal moves at the regional and international levels.

Condemning the decisions and measures taken by the blockading countries, Dr Al Marri said: “The report affirms in a non-interpretive manner that the measures adopted by the countries of the blockade are arbitrary and unilateral and explicitly violate international law, the principles of international relations and human rights conventions.”

The report also, he said, affirms that the crisis is not merely the severance of diplomatic relations rather it is a collective punishment, and violations against citizens are substantiated and not just allegations. The OHCHR report proves that the siege countries have no intention to alleviate the sufferings of the victims, and there is a continuation and intransigence of those countries that contribute to further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The report stated that the majority of cases remain unresolved and are likely to durably affect the victims.

While the report praised in many points the efforts of the government of Qatar and some of its authorities in finding solutions to the worsening humanitarian cases of the victims.

Dr Al Marri pointed out that the committee is going to circulate the report to all international and regional organizations and the global alliance of national human rights institutions and all international parliaments.

Al Marri said the OHCHR will convene a meeting with the Department of Special Procedures of the Commission to hand over the cases to the UN Special Rapporteurs, each according to its competence.

The Commission will also hold a meeting with the diplomatic missions of the countries of the blockade at the United Nations in Geneva to inform them of the report and cases and try to find solutions.

Information will be provided to some specialized international organizations, such as the International Labor Organization, Dr Al Marri outlined during the press conference. The report has classified victims of the crisis into four categories including Qatari individuals who were residing in the blockading countries and citizens of those countries residing in Qatar and compelled to immediate exit Qatar upon decisions of blockading states.

The report indicated that the measures taken by the siege countries, individuals left behind their family, businesses, employment, property, or being forced to interrupt their studies.

The third category is the migrant workers and their families, who constitute the majority of the population of Qatar, some of whom have lost their employment and have been facing increased economic pressure.

The population of the Gulf countries at large have been affected by the suspension of freedom of movement between their countries and the repercussions on various civil, economic, social and cultural rights.

The report officially described the measures taken by the countries of the blockade lacking legal decisions motivating, unilateral, coercive measures as defined and standardised by the United Nations.

The measures also described as non-disproportionate and discriminatory and make no distinction between the government of Qatar and its population.

The report also states that the considerable economic impact of the crisis takes over the dimension of an economic warfare, with significant financial losses for the State, companies, and individuals; where Qatar has effectively absorbed the shock.

The mission submitted its report and recommendations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report stressed the negative and deep psychological impact on the population as a result of the campaigns of incitement, media defamation and campaigns against Qatar, its leadership, and people.

The report stressed the need to communicate with the four countries to determine the impact of their actions on their citizens and residents.

Dr Al Marri made several recommendations, urging the government of Qatar not engage in dialogue before lifting the siege or redressing the victims.

He also urged the government to refer the report in supporting complaints before the World Trade Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and UNESCO. As well, raise the issue at international and regional forums, UN organisation including the UN General Assembly to lift the unjust blockade.

The Commission has called upon the national compensation claims committee to expedite the proceedings of litigation and international arbitration and depending on the report of the mission to facilitate the role of the appointed International Law Office.

The NHRC President also urged the OHCHR to move further at all levels of international human rights mechanisms and the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise the issue and promote the complaints against the blockading countries.