On November 12, 2020, Alena DOUHAN the UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt to drop sanctions against Qatar imposed in 2017.
She called for the blockading nations to “immediately withdraw all sanctions/measures aimed at establishing restrictions on freedom of expression, movement, access to the property, trade barriers, and ban tariffs, quotas, non-tariff measures … for people living in Qatar in violation of international legal standards”.
“Measures directly affecting fundamental human rights shall not be used as the means of influencing the government,” she said.
In 2017 an air, land, and sea blockade were imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain. The four states cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha, claiming that it supported “terrorism” and that the country has too close ties with Iran.
Qatar has rejected the claims and said there was “no legitimate justification” for severing relations.
DOUHAN expressed “serious concern” over the treatment of Qataris expelled by the boycotting countries at the start of the crisis, which interrupted work and study.
“Among those who are reported to be badly affected are couples in mixed marriages and their children,” she said.
DOUHAN said that citizens of the boycotting countries living in Qatar had also been adversely affected by their nation’s measures against Doha.
At the start of the crisis, the Saudi-led coalition issued 13 sweeping demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera, the Doha-based news network, and the shuttering of a Turkish military base, in order to end the boycott.
They also demanded Doha curb relations with Riyadh’s arch-rival, Iran, and cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar had rejected the demands, calling them “unrealistic” and “not actionable”, leading to a stalemate.
Instead, Doha restored full diplomatic ties with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore gas field that provides the peninsular nation with its wealth.
UN experts are independent and do not speak for the world body, but their findings can be used to inform the work of UN organisations, including the rights council.
DOUHAN will present the final report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2021.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Dailytimes.com.pk, Qatar-tribune.com, and Middleeasteye.net.