(Text of the Statement)
At a time when Qatar National Human Rights Committee looks forward to lifting the injustice and calls for redress of the victims affected by the blockade and its humanitarian repercussions on the citizens and residents of the GCC countries, the Committee was shocked to know about the complaint submitted by the besieging countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt) against the Committee to the High Commissioner for Human Rights through its permanent representatives to the United Nations in Geneva.
The complaint included demands to withdraw “A” Status (the highest status accredited to NHRIs by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions) from Qatar National Human Rights Committee, which entails the highest level of institutional credibility and independence from the Government in accordance with the standards established by the United Nations (the Paris Principles), in a desperate attempt to obstruct and hinder the work of the committee and the performance of its human rights protection functions.
This complaint has been preceded by systematic distortion campaigns against Qatar National Human Rights Committee launched by some parties and media, as well as accusations and threats made by some high level officials in these countries, in a critical precedent that has never been witnessed in the work of national human rights institutions around the world.
Qatar National Human Rights Committee is the first of its kind to be established in the GCC region and the only institution accredited “A” status in the Gulf region since 2010. Qatar National Human Rights Committee shall continue to work professionally in accordance with international law and the Paris Principles and shall always remain biased towards victims and human rights issues.
It would be more practical for the besieging countries to act and make efforts to address the violations promptly by lifting the injustice and responding to the demands of the Qatar National Human rights Committee, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Special Rapporteurs and international human rights organizations, instead of obscuring violations, targeting human rights defenders, human rights organizations and national institutions, and obstructing their work. It would rather be appropriate for these countries to open the way for their human rights organizations to work together to resolve and address the violations, than wasting time in submitting statements and complaints that don’t have any legal effect on the efforts of Qatar National Human Rights Committee. This complaint is explicit condemnation of the practices of the besieging countries and a compelling proof of restricting the activities of human rights defenders.
Qatar National Human Rights Committee emphasizes that this step shall only strengthen its determination to support victims and make their voices heard in all international human rights forums, and work with its partners including international organizations and national institutions around the world to redress, compensate and restore their rights.
Qatar National Human Rights Committee calls upon the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and international organizations to act to counter the vicious and systematic campaigns against human rights activists and organizations .
21 Dhul-Qa’da 1438, 13 August 2017