The National Human Rights Committee called on the Qatari government to take all possible steps at the international level, especially at the level of the Security Council, international courts and arbitration committees, to lift the blockade imposed on citizens and residents in the State of Qatar and redress the victims. The Committee called for the acceleration of litigation procedures to redress the victims and recommended that the procedures for integrating students into universities and the Qatari educational system should be facilitated and that humanitarian cases of some affected persons should be addressed.
This came in the fourth report, titled, “Six months of the blockade, what is next?” .. 184 days and violations continue. The report included a comprehensive account of the victims’ testimonies about the violations against them, and the Committee’s efforts at the national level in monitoring and documenting violations, along with its international movement at various levels and destinations to end the blockade, violations and the resulting social and economic consequences.
The report said ..
The report pointed out that 3970 complaints have been received by the Committee since the blockade began, including 504 violations of the right to education, 236 violations against Qatari students, 1174 violations of the right to property, 629 violations of the right to family reunification, 1261 violations of the right to movement, 37 violations of the right to health, 163 violations of the right to practice religious rites, 109 violations of the right to work and 93 violations of the right to residence.”
Violations in the field of media
The National Human Rights Committee recorded 103 cases of media staff from citizens of the three countries, who were working in a number of visual media in the State of Qatar, and who were subjected to various types of violations, including pressure to force them to resign. As per such pressure, 10 of these workers were forced to submit their resignations, and therefore lost their jobs and livelihoods. There is still great pressure exercised on anyone who did not resign, and this act is a flagrant violation of freedom of the press, work, residence, and opinion at the same time.
The report pointed out that the countries of the blockade have blocked the Qatari channels, whether these channels are governmental or private. This is what came in the resolutions of the governments of the blockading countries, which decided to cancel the TV channels of Qatar and imposed of a fine of 100 thousand Riyals against those who contravene these directives.
Violations of the performance of rituals and religious rites
The report showed that the authorities of Saudi Arabia continue to put obstacles and impediments to Qatari citizens and residents in Qatar to perform rituals and religious rites. The Hajj and Umrah campaigners in the State of Qatar have complained about the harassment and difficulties placed against the residents when try to perform Umrah.
The report considered that the policy of “politicizing religious rites” has caused great financial losses and damages in Qatar since the beginning of the blockade due to the prohibition of performing Hajj and Umrah. The losses of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs related to Hajj and Umrah were approximately QAR 4,500,000 in addition to other losses that resulted from the imposition of the blockade on the State of Qatar.
The report concluded by stressing that the governments of the countries of the blockade, through their arbitrary decisions and illegal measures, have violated – and still violates – several basic rules, laws and principles of international human rights law, which have become one of the most basic human rights. Some particular articles were violated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as articles in other instruments, including the Arab Charter on Human Rights, the Human Rights Declaration of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the economic agreement between the GCC countries. The blockading states also violated the Chicago Convention banning the movement of Qatari civil aviation over their territories without any justification or war necessity or reasons related to public security.
The efforts of the Committee in the face of the blockade
The Committee has addressed about 450 human rights organizations and international and regional governmental and non-governmental organizations to appeal for urgent action to address the effects of the humanitarian crisis caused by the blockade. It has also visited 33 European and international capitals to inform them of the extent of the violations committed against the State of Qatar as a result of the blockade. In addition, the Committee has received numerous international human rights organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, and parliamentary delegations from European countries.
The report said that the Committee continues to receive complaints from victims of decisions associated with the blockade. These decisions have caused several human rights violations, including: family reunification, education, property, movement and residence, religious practice, health, work, etc.
The report also noted that the Qatari government has not taken any similar action against the citizens of the countries of the blockade, and the NHRC has not received any complaint in this regard. The State of Qatar also, on 22 June 2017, established the Claims Compensation Committee for damages resulting from the blockade.
* NHRC addresses its counterparts in the blockade countries, but to no avail!
In its ongoing efforts to address violations, the National Human Rights Committee has addressed both the Saudi and the UAE Human Rights Societies. The Committee also addressed the National Council for Human Rights in Egypt and sent all the lists of victims and called them to communicate with their authorities to deal with these violations. The Committee received no responses from them except the National Council for Human Rights in Egypt, which dealt positively with the letter of the Committee. The NHRC continued its attempts to communicate with the Bahraini National Institution for Human Rights – but to no avail.
Recommendations to the international community
The Committee’s report concluded with a series of urgent recommendations to put an end to the violations of the blockade. The Committee called upon the international community to act urgently to lift the blockade and to exert all possible efforts to mitigate its repercussions on the people of Qatar and the citizens of the blockade countries as well.
Recommendations to the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Committee also submitted 4 recommendations to the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights requesting them to present reports and data documenting the types of violations, especially the displacement of families, in particular the report of the technical mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which visited Doha from 18 to 23 November 2017, and a detailed report on human rights violations to the Council Human rights , to the special rapporteurs and contractual mechanisms to address violations and ensure that they are not repeated. The Committee called upon the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution and to take all possible measures to lift the blockade and the resulting violations and to demand compensation for all damages suffered by all individuals. It further called for the establishment of a fact-finding committee and to meet victims directly.
The Committee recommended to the special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council that they should respond promptly to the reports of the National Human Rights Committee and the victims’ letters and call for urgent appeals in this regard and address the governments of the blockade countries to lift violations and redress the victims. It also called upon the special rapporteurs to conduct field visits to Qatar and the blockade countries to identify violations of human rights as a result of the blockade, and to codify these violations in periodic reports submitted to the Human Rights Council.
Recommendations to the GCC Secretariat
The Committee addressed the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including a call to the Legal Affairs Sector in the General Secretariat, especially the Human Rights Office in the sector, to address the blockade countries to lift violations, redress the victims and stop any new arbitrary measures.
Recommendations to the States of the blockade
The Committee addressed five recommendations to the States of the blockade, calling on them to respect and abide by the commitments contained in the human rights conventions which they have ratified and acceded to, to cease, stop and remedy violations, to redress victims, to respond to reports of the National Human Rights Committee and international reports. A recommendation also request permission for the international organizations and missions to conduct field visits to learn about humanitarian situations closely, identify responsibilities and redress victims. Such recommendations further called for the need to neutralize the political file on the impact on humanitarian and social conditions, and not to be used as a pressure card for violating international law and international human rights law.
Recommendations to the Qatari Government
The National Human Rights Committee concluded its report with recommendations to the Qatari government, including taking all possible steps at the international level, at the level of the Security Council, international courts and arbitration committees, to lift the blockade off citizens and residents of the State of Qatar. It also called on the Claims Compensation Committee to speed up litigation procedures to redress victims, facilitate the integration of students into universities and the Qatari education system and address humanitarian cases for some affected persons.
The fourth report complements three general reports and four special reports that the Committee has issued since the beginning of the crisis. That time, the NHRC confirmed that it would continue to update this basic report as long as the blockade and the resulting violations continued.