NHRC issues detailed report about violation of the basic rights of Gulf citizens
The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) of the State of Qatar has released a report documenting the violations against the citizens of the four Gulf states following the decision by three Gulf states (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain) of cutting ties with Qatar, and imposing a land blockade with shutting down the air and sea routes.
The three states have notified their citizens who live in Qatar to leave the State of Qatar within 14 days, and banned Qatari citizens from entering their lands.
At least 13,314 were directly affected by that decisions, the report noted. The violations included family separations, violations to the right to travel, education, work, freedom of opinion, residency and ownership.
The steps taken on 5 June, 2017, by the three Gulf states were not only severe escalation but shocking steps that involved the shutdown of sea, land, and air routes in the face of trades, but also in the face of the Gulf Citizen in a series of actions never witnessed before by the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), disregarding all human rights and humanitarian standards and principles and their legal repercussions.
According to the report, hundreds of complaints have been submitted to the NHRC via e-mail, phone, or personal visits to the NHRC headquarters in Doha, Qatar’s capital.
According to data collected by NHRC, approximately 11,387 citizens from the three Gulf states live in Qatar, and approximately 1927 Qatari citizens live in those states. All of those people have been affected in different areas and sectors to varying degrees. In some cases, the actions of the Gulf states separated a mother from her children.
In its report the NHRC appreciates and esteems the step taken by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE to show sympathy for the mix-families of Saudi-Qatari, Bahraini-Qatari, and Emirati-Qatari families, considering that as a step in the right direction.
The report, however, calls on the three states to clarify the execution mechanisms, firstly, and, secondly, emphasizes that it has to include all human rights and legal areas.
“The Conflict Resolution Commission of the GCC has to play its role in resolving the ongoing rift, and even more vitally when the conflict directly affects the lives and principle rights of a large number of the GCC states citizens” Dr. Ali al Marri, chairman of NHRC, was quoted in the report.
NHRC team recorded roughly 764 complaints for various types of violations against citizens of the four Gulf states between 5 June, the date on which the blockade, ban, and boycott started, and Monday dawn 12 June, where the work methodology draws upon visits by the victims to the NHRC headquarters and the special forms that NHRC prepared and were filled by the victims with detailed information, in addition to attaching copes of the victims’ I.D., while some victims attached university and school reports, work contracts, family statements, and other documents that are available in the committee archive.
The violations reported by the committee’s team outlined that an individual might be the subject of more than one type of violations. The report highlights two testimonies or more from the victims for each violation type. Also, the report includes a table that breaks down the violations by their type and the violator state.
The report stresses that what has been documented is still the bare minimum, considering that many of those whose rights were violated don’t know of the existence of any mechanisms for complaint submission.
In addition, many of them seriously fear that retaliatory actions could be taken against them by their countries’ local authorities if they contacted or submitted a compliant, in light of unprecedented punitive actions by the three states for merely sympathizing with the State of Qatar.
The report notes that the Qatari government didn’t take any action against the citizens of the three states, and the QNHRC said it didn’t receive any complaint of that nature.
Governments of KSA, UAE, and Bahrain Kingdom have violated in those decisions a number of principle of international human rights laws and rules and international conventions, which are ones of the most fundamental human rights.
For the simplicity and unanimity these rules enjoy, and their wide applications, these rules are treated as international norms. These resolutions blatantly violate a number of articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Most notably: 5,9,12,13,19,23, and 26) and other Articles in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (most notably Part III of Article 6, and Articles 10 and 13) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Part II of Article 2), in addition to Articles in the: Arab Charter on Human Rights (Articles 3,8,26,32, and 33), the GCC Declarations of Human Rights (Articles 6, 9, 14, 24, and 27), and the Economic Agreement between the GCC States. Therefore, those states are responsible for protecting and preserving the rights and interests of the individuals living on their lands.
Calls on the United Nations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) were made to take speedy steps to bind the states that made these abusive decisions to repeal them.
Additionally, the calls were also made on the OHCHR to compile reports and statements documenting the various types of violations that affected great numbers of people, especially the families that were separated, including the terrifying ramifications on women and children as a result of the separation of their families.
Also, the OHCHR has to call on these states to respect the basic freedoms of the people living on their lands. The NHRC’s report called on the Human Rights Council to take every possible action in order to end the blockade and its ramifications, and call for the compensation of all people who were harmed and affected.
Moreover, the report calls on Human Rights Council Special Rapporteurs to document forms on the various types of violations that occurred, and contact certain governments in that regard as soon as possible. The report asserts that NHRC is ready and committed to share all the data it possesses.
In addition, the report emphasizes that Secretariat General of the GCC, and especially The High Council’s Conflict Resolution Commission, were appealed to move as quickly as possible and do everything in its power to convince the states’ governments to start settling the social, civil, and cultural situation for the families and citizens.
The report calls on KSA, UAE, and Kingdom of Bahrain to respect the unique character of the Gulf societies, and refrain from making any decisions that sever the links between families and societies even further. The countries have been asked to repeal these decisions as quickly as possible respecting the basic human rights in travel, ownership, work, residency, and expression of opinion that are stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Third: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.
As the NHRC believes that political crisis and relevant developments should not affect humanitarian and social relations of a certain societies, it has called these states to refrains from using social factors as leverage card, which is a violation to the international law and the international human rights law.
Furthermore the committee’s report included calls on those states to respect the holiness of the Holy Month of Ramadan, repeal all decisions, and end the blockade before Eid al-Fitr.