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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Are tensions between Qatar and GCC countries likely to increase?

Talks to reduce tension between Qatar and other GCC countries have failed. Saudi Arabia-led bloc demands Qatar to shut down Al-Jazeera and follow a strict policy to curb political dissidents. The political crisis is now creating a serious health crisis. Should Pakistan play a role?

There are some reports which suggest that the ongoing tensions between Qatar and other GCC countries are likely to increase since the former is not willing to accept any illegitimate demands of the latter. In a latest development, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its concern over Saudi authorities’ not granting H E Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health in the State of Qatar, permission to enter Riyadh and attend a meeting on coronavirus preventive measures organized by the GCC General Secretariat until the meeting had actually started.

“Saudi Arabia has repeatedly claimed that the GCC, especially the technical committees, have not been affected by the crisis. Yet, we are surprised to see that Saudi is politicizing a humanitarian sector, that requires close collaboration and coordination due to the urgency of the situation,” the statement said.

Read more: Has Efforts to End GCC Crisis been Suspended?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar calls on Saudi Arabia to assume its role, as the country hosting the GCC headquarter, professionally and impartially, assuring that Qatar will cooperate with all GCC countries to prevent Coronavirus.

It is worth noting that recently Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, has said that efforts to resolve a years-long Gulf diplomatic crises were not successful and were suspended at the start of January. “It’s been almost three years. We were not perpetrators and are open to any offer to resolve this problem,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. “Unfortunately efforts did not succeed and were suspended at the beginning of January and Qatar is not responsible for this,” he added.

Children suffer worst due to Blockade imposed on Qatar

Maryam binte Abdullah al-Attiyah, Secretary-General National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), has recently clarified that it was the top priority of the committee to promote and protect children’s rights. She was explaining the vision of the committee with regard to the protection of human rights in the State of Qatar. She also noted that at the moment children are facing several types of violence and discrimination in the country.

To counter it, she added, the government is encouraged to pass appropriate legislation and enact a law that immediately protects children. She particularly focused on the blockade of Qatar, due to the discriminatory measures that lead to the violation of their basic rights, especially the forced separation of Qatari children from their parents.

Moreover, Al-Attiyah confirmed in a press statement that the government is likely to focus on the rights of the children. She specifically highlighted the articles of the constitution which deal with child protection in Qatar. Article 22 states that the state shall provide care for the young and protect them from corruption, exploitation, and the evils of physical, mental and spiritual neglect.

Read more: GCC: Not yet ready to remove blockade from Qatar?

It is worth noting here that the issue of children’s rights and the question of perpetrated violence against then came on the surface and received great attention after it was taken up in the National Development Strategy 2011-2016. The program was one of the many ways to accomplish the Qatar National Vision 2030. In Qatar, various social institutions are playing their due role in order to protect the rights of the children.

Institutions like Qatar Social Work Foundation centers for protection and social rehabilitation, family counseling and care for orphans, Shafallah Center for persons with disabilities, and other social institutions are committed to ensuring the safety of every child over there.

Furthermore, Al-Attiyah said that the arbitrary decision affected infants and deprived them of their parents, while others found themselves victims because blockade countries’ citizens were forcibly separated from their Qatari husbands or wives. It is a matter of serious human rights which is affecting the lives of many in Qatar and beyond.

Read more: Are Qatar and Kuwait going to join US-led naval coalition in the Gulf?

Secretary-General called on the blockade countries to stop their violations that did not exclude children, to abide by the international laws and conventions they have ratified in the field of protecting children’s rights, and to implement the resolutions of international organizations and bodies asking them to stop their violations. She also hoped that the international community may play a role in this regard to protect the rights of children and women in the State of Qatar.