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Sanctions are violating human rights, says NHRC

Graphic: NHRC Chairperson Dr Ali bin Smaikh al Marri speaks at the press conference

The NHRC is monitoring the human rights impacts on thousands of individuals and families after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE cut ties with Qatar.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has expressed concern for the well-being of thousands of nationals of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates living in Doha, and for Qataris living in the Gulf region, after the three Gulf states broke ties with Qatar.

The three Gulf states have ordered Qatari citizens to leave the countries and demanded their nationals living in the peninsula to return.

The NHRC said it was alarmed over the "violation of human rights", Al Jazeera reported.

"These steps result in tearing up families, disrupting businesses and interrupting students' education across the region," aid Dr Ali bin Smaikh al Marri, NHRC Chairperson told a news conference.

Al Marri estimated that 8,254 Saudi, 784 Emirati, and 2,349 Bharani citizens live in Qatar.

"All of them will be forced to leave their jobs or face punishment and legal consequences by their governments," he said.

In a statement, the NHRC said that "the blockade of Qatar has trampled over a wide range of civil, economic social and cultural rights".

"The right to movement and residence, the right to private property, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to religious freedom, the right to work, the right to education, and the right to health have all been seriously damaged," the statement said.

"The NHRC has been documenting and reporting on the tragic humanitarian cases resulting from the blockade, and the traumatic psychological effect it is having on citizens and residents in the Gulf as a whole.

"The Committee insists it will continue to perform according to its mandate of protecting, promoting and consolidating the rights and freedoms of those affected in the GCC, and will continue to document and report on all human rights violations, and raise complaints to international bodies and organisations."

On 14 June 2017, the NHRC published its first report on human rights violations resulting from the imposition of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Qatar.

The report notes that more than 13,300 people were directly affected by the decision.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed alarm at "the possible impact on many people's human rights in the wake of the decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar".

"It is becoming clear that the measures being adopted are overly broad in scope and implementation, and have the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of thousands of women, children and men, simply because they belong to one of the nationalities involved in the dispute," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

Date: 16 June 2017


Image credits

  1. NHRC Chairperson Dr Ali bin Smaikh al Marri speaks at the press conference - Screengrab of Al Jazeera news report; https://youtu.be/lZrWadRAJv4