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UK Foreign Office on the UAE and the crisis with Qatar

3 months 5 days

UK Foreign Office on the UAE and the crisis with Qatar

During the recent tensions between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf countries, a series of human rights violations have taken place. Qatari nationals have been requested to leave the UAE and have been separated from their families, prevented from working or studying. Only last week, UNESCO has reported 85 cases of students being denied their right to education in the UAE. The National Human Rights Council (NHRC) has further documented thousands of similar violations.

 

The UAE has also recently announced the intention to punish any statements of sympathy towards Qatar with imprisonment of up to 15 years, in a further attempt to curtail freedom of expression. In one case, Emirati citizen Ghanem Abdullah Mattar, was arrested last week for publishing a video on social media urging people to respect their "Qatari brothers".  

 

Members of the UK Parliament have questioned the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the actions being taken by the government to facilitate negotiation efforts between the two countries.

 

Q Asked by Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury)

Asked on: 21 June 2017

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

United Arab Emirates: Freedom of Expression 264

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in the UAE on the recent announcement of that country's intention to punish expressions of sympathy towards Qatar with imprisonment for up to 15 years.

A Answered by: Boris Johnson

Answered on: 28 June 2017

In my meetings with the Deputy Foreign Minister from the United Arab Emirates and my counterparts from the region, I have made it clear that we want de-escalation.

In the meantime, we have updated our travel advice to alert British nationals to the recent announcement that showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence in the UAE.

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Q Asked by Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury)

Asked on: 21 June 2017

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Qatar: Sanctions 395

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his counterparts in (a) Saudi Arabia, (b) UAE, (c) Bahrain, (d) Egypt and (e) Yemen on the imposition of sanctions by those countries on Qatar since 5 June 2017; what steps he is taking to facilitate a negotiated solution to the dispute between those countries; and what assessment he has made of the prospects for restoration of full diplomatic ties between those countries.

A Answered by: Boris Johnson

Answered on: 28 June 2017

I have been in touch with my counterparts across the region including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to discuss the actions taken against Qatar.

 

In the discussions I have had with all parties, I have encouraged dialogue as the way to resolve the situation. I emphasised that Gulf unity is the best way to counter extremism and ensure the region is a stable place to live, work and do business. Any demands on Qatar must be measured and realistic.

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