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Qatar Blockade: A Human Rights violation

Al-Mansour, heading the Qatari Envoy in UN office Geneva, has urged the HRC to play its role to raise voice against the perpetrators of the Gulf blockade for violating the Human rights of the Qatari citizens living in neighbouring Gulf States. Qatar is also contesting against the UAE at the ICJ for discriminating against the Qatari nationals for unlawfully expelling and detaining them in 2017.

Blockade

News Desk |

Ambassador Ali Khalfan al-Mansour, the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations Office in Geneva, stressed the significance of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to work towards ending the discrimination against Qatar by its neighbouring states in the Gulf.

While delivering a speech at the 41st session of the HRC in Geneva on Wednesday, Al -Mansouri argued that the unlawful blockade imposed on the tiny Gulf Peninsula has in fact violated the rights of Qatari families, students and citizens’, who were detained as a result of an unannounced air, land and sea blockade.

Qatar is also the first state in the Arab world to host the upcoming world cup of 2022, and announced a further $6 billion expenditure for construction alone.

He further asserted that the ban has led to the violation of freedom of movement, expression, ownership and the right to education of the Qatari nationals living or visiting the blockading quartet.

The blockade imposed on Qatar in June 2017, by its neighbouring Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and others in Middle East and Asia Pacific over alleged support to Islamist groups, completed its two years earlier this month.

Read more: Qatar finds a way around blockade: Witnesses GDP growth

The Saudi-dominated blockade accused Qatar of supporting Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Taliban in Afghanistan for committing violent activities. Qatar, however, maintained its stance on the Islamist groups. It has always remained neutral and it is obliged to host Taliban as part of its alliance with the US.

Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia for bargaining its sovereignty in exchange for the membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to wash clean its crimes against humanity in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Additionally, Saudi Arabia remained critical of Qatar for using Al-Jazeera; a Qatari media news agency, to report against Saudi bloodshed in the Middle East to avoid the domino effect of the Arab Spring.

Qatar,stance on the Islamist groups has always remained neutral and it is obliged to host Taliban as part of its alliance with the US.

Moreover, the UAE considered Qatar as a significant economic competitor in the Gulf in the realms of petrochemical and airline economy. Violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD):

On June 15, 2018 Qatar filed a case against the UAE at the International Court of Justice for violating the rights of the Qatari citizens by detaining and expelling them from the UAE.  Some of the Qatari’s linked to UAE through family ties, education or property, were forced to leave the country.

Read more: Saudi King invites Qatar for the first time since blockaded

Qatar argued that the airspace, land and marine blockade that led to the expulsion of its nationals in the blockading country was a violation of ICERD, and out of all other blockading nations, UAE was also a part of it. It argued that CERD talked about discrimination on the basis of nationality as a prohibition for states party to the convention.

Therefore, Qatar accused the UAE of discriminating against the Qatari citizens living in the country, based on their nationality and for subsequently violating the obligations of CERD. The first proceeding of the ICJ on the case was held on July 23, 2018 in which the court ordered the UAE to immediately allow the Qatari citizens with familial ties to reunite with their families.

The UAE considered Qatar as a significant economic competitor in the Gulf in the realms of petrochemical and airline economy.

Qatari national students were asked to go back and continue their studies. The court’s order was essentially a provincial measure for the UAE to follow before the final proceedings of the case.

Read more: Saudi-led blockade on Qatar not ending anytime soon

“The Right Path”

Last month, since the blockade in 2017, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was invited to attend the Mecca summits on May 30, by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. The invitation was Saudi Arabia’s potential attempt to resolve the Gulf crisis.

However, contrary to speculations, Qatar was not taken on board for the final proceedings of the Summits that it termed as an attempt to “isolate Iran”.

Moreover, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Ibrahim al-Assaf, addressing to a press conference during the summits, disregarded a question regarding the presence of the Qatari Prime Minister. He stated that Qatar had previously attended summits so their presence should not be questionable. Moreover, he added that Saudi Arabia could only move forward if Qatar was willing to return to the “right path”.

Read more: Deep rooted mistrust in the Gulf: Qatar’s blockade continues

Qatar continues to fight back

Despite the blockading attempts of its neighbours, Qatar has been quite successful in rebuilding its economy since the events of 2017. Qatar initially suffered a $30 billion loss after the Saudi dominated bloc and withdrew capital from Qatari banks in a bid to cut off ties. However, with the help of its sovereign wealth fund, the country was able to bring back capital in the form of deposits to avoid currency devaluation.

The court’s order was essentially a provincial measure for the UAE to follow before the final proceedings of the case.

Now that it has worked on recovering from the damage, it is set to return to its worldwide acquisitive investment ventures. At present, Qatar is quickly developing a diversified economy based on hydrocarbons, tourism and investments abroad. It is also focusing on attracting foreign investments by offering 100 per cent foreign ownership to investors working in Qatar.

Read more: Qatar blockade just strategy to maintain hegemony over Middle East?

Qatar is also the first state in the Arab world to host the upcoming world cup of 2022, and announced a further $6 billion expenditure for construction alone.

According to a recent report published by the IMF, on June 3 2019, Qatar is considered to be capable of containing “the adverse macro-financial implications of downside risks in view of considerable buffers”. The report further analyzed Qatar’s economic performance and concluded that it has successfully maintained its GDP growth and has recovered fast to develop a hydrocarbon economy.

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