The National Human Rights Committee of the State of Qatar has dismissed the recent directives issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain regarding the humanitarian situation of mixed-citizenship families. It views their actions as little more than a face-saving measure.
The NHRC says the directives remain too vague to have any practical impact and are void of a mechanism to be of assistance to those affected. It adds that while the directives make reference to considering the humanitarian situation, they provide no solution to the serious legal and human rights issues that have resulted from the arbitrary measures imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the State of Qatar, which are in violation of all humanitarian norms, charters and principles, and constitute international human rights crimes. The Committee considers the recent directives as a public relations exercise in damage control, following huge international outcry over the blockade and its impact.
The NHRC adds that the the siege of Qatar is not only a gross violation of the rights of Gulf citizens (both Qatari and non-Qatari), but also the rights of expat residents in the State of Qatar.
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.
Families have been split apart, livelihoods are being lost, and the academic prospects of students are being destroyed.
The Committee also notes a serious attack on press freedoms and freedoms of opinion and expression in the states enforcing the blockade, where any expression of sympathy towards Qatar has been criminalised. Those who object to the arbitrary and illegal measures taken by their governments face huge financial penalties and lengthy prison sentences.
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.
Finally, the NHRC reminds the three States enforcing the blockade that they must shoulder full responsibility for the resulting damage to lives and property in accordance to international norms and principles and their obligations under international human rights treaties. They must take immediate measures to stop all human rights violations, lift the siege imposed on the State of Qatar, and alleviate the suffering of the Gulf people