President of the Sub-Committee on Human rights of the European Parliament:
– We will spare no effort to lift the blockade on Qatar
– We will not allow the Saudi Crown Prince to cover up the assassination of Khashoggi
– Protecting human rights in the world and the Gulf region is our priority
Alliot-Marie: Al Marri is the initiator of listening to the victims of the blockade in the European Parliament
– Europe will bear the consequences of violations caused by the blockade of Qatar if we do not move to put an end to it
– The repercussions of the blockade of Qatar are not sufficiently discussed in the European Parliament
– European MPs demand a halt to the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia
– The European Parliament and governments do not take adequate action to protect human rights
– Sanctions are necessary to push Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to stop their violations
– Human rights should be a priority ahead of the political interests of European States
– EU countries should engage more seriously and express a collective and strong stance against human rights violations
Brussels on 19 February 2019
The European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday witnessed a historic session with a wide presence of EU Parliamentarians and the international media to hear – for the first time – live and shocking testimony presented by 5 people affected by Saudi, UAE and Bahraini violations of human rights, including Dr. Wafaa Al Yazidi, Qatari citizen and victim of family dispersal, Jouhar Mohammed Al Meer, Qatari citizen student who was expelled from the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University, Khadija Genghis, fiancé of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated inside the headquarters of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Briton Matthew Hedges, student and academician who was jailed and tortured in Abu Dhabi and sentenced to life imprisonment before being released later following the intervention of the British authorities, along with Ali al-Aswad, a member of the Bahraini parliament sentenced to life imprisonment.
In an open session of the European Parliament, the victims called on EU governments and the European Parliament to adopt stronger and more effective stances to stop the grave human rights violations against citizens and residents of Qatar since the blockade began, as well as the abuses of many citizens held in UAE, Saudi and Bahraini prisons.
President of the Sub-Committee on Human rights of the European Parliament emphasized the commitment of the European Union deputies to defend human rights issues in various countries of the world, including victims of human rights violations resulting from the Gulf crisis, pointing out that the European Parliament will spare no effort To lift the blockade imposed on Qatar, stressing that the European Parliament will not allow Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to cover up the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The hearing witnessed heated and transparent debates in which a number of European parliamentarians called for cessation of arming of Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the European Parliament has voted three times to prevent the sale of arms, but some governments are still making deals with the Saudi regime. The deputies stressed the need to move forward to stop the violations of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen, and those resulting from the blockade of Qatar, pointing out that human rights must be defended everywhere, warning that Europe will bear the consequences of violations resulting from the blockade of Qatar if EU does not move to put an end to it, and that the repercussions of the blockade of Qatar is not sufficiently discussed within the European Parliament.
Dr. Wafa Al Yazidi: I have traveled thousands of kilometers to speak about my suffering despite my illness
Dr. Wafaa Al Yazidi barely managed to hold back her tears as she spoke about the great suffering for the first time before the European Parliament. “I have come to tell you the story of my suffering since the beginning of the blockade, I am Qatari, my Bahraini children, and they lived with me in Europe where I was studying and living a quiet life. Europe allowed me to raise my children in humanitarian conditions and freedom of opinion and expression. We lived a normal life free of any barriers due to my nationality as Qatari or their nationality as Bahraini My life has been turned upside down since June 5, 2017, when diplomatic relations with Qatar were cut off. From then on, my life became hell, my children can no longer talk to their family in Bahrain, and all channels of communication are banned, fearing the punishment imposed by the blockading states. If my children express their solidarity with their mother, they would be punished. We are no longer able to travel to the Hajj. We were not allowed to attend the funeral of relatives. My children’s passports shall expire at the end of this year, and I cannot renew their passports. I know another story of a Qatari mother who has an 11-year-old son who went to renew his passport. From his day, he was not allowed to return to his mother for about a year! I am sick, I cannot stop thinking about my family, I always think about my situation, I appeal to all European parliamentarians, especially women who understand my situation and suffering as a divorced woman deprived of her children, to take action to help lift the blockade”, Al Yazidi said.
Student Jouhar Mohammed Al Meer: I did not expect that I would be at the European Parliament to speak about my usurped rights
In her first public appearance, Qatari student Jouhar Mohammed Al Meer spoke of her suffering after being expelled from the Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi despite her academic excellence, under the pretext of severing political relations with Qatar! “I always hoped that I would visit to talk about my usurped rights,” she said. Today, I decided to stand here to speak for the first time about my suffering, because I am sure I will find someone who would listen to me, and because I believe that the European Parliament can do something to stop the suffering of thousands of victims like me. My dream came true, and I began to learn French in the French city of Tours to prepare myself for post-graduation studies in the future, and later I decided to move to the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi During the past year, when I finished all my exams, I went to Qatar to spend my vacation and left all my belongings in Abu Dhabi, and I did not expect that I would not be able to return one day. I was with my family and I read on the news on Al Jazeera about severing the diplomatic relations, and I was shocked, because it was a sister country. I contacted the university administration, which responded with an e-mail telling me that I had been transferred to the Sorbonne in Paris. It was true that my dream was to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, and within 20 days I had to move to Paris. I say to the officials in the United Arab Emirates: It is nice that the UAE opens the Sorbonne and the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, but it is more important to bring the civilized values of these prestigious institutions!”
Antonio Benzari: Bin Salman will not be able to keep his crime hidden .. We will work hard to lift the blockade on Qatar
Antonio Benzari, chairman of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the European Parliament, said parliamentarians are committed to protecting human rights in the world, including the Gulf region.
“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will not be able to keep his crime hidden. We will work hard to lift the blockade on Qatar and we are happy to hold this meeting in the European Parliament and listen to the testimonies of victims and we will always be in the service of human rights” Benzari said.
Michèle Alliot-Marie: Hearing at the initiative of Dr. Ali Bin Smeikh Al Marri
Michèle Alliot-Marie, Chair of DARP Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula of the European Parliament, said at the beginning of the meeting that a hearing for victims of human rights violations resulting from the Gulf crisis came after a visit to the State of Qatar. “After our visit to the region, Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri expressed the hope that the victims will be able to speak in the European Parliament about the repercussions of the violations resulting from the blockade of Qatar and welcomed the participation of officials from the blockading countries to enable progress in resolving the crisis. We are always discuss human rights issues in the region, because it is part of our manadate in the European Parliament, especially with respect to the protection of human rights. We are waiting and following with great interest what the victims of human rights violations will say, not what we say. We can not forget what Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi faced. I was the first to demand a decision in the European Parliament to investigate the murder, to know the whole truth.