Middle East

Leading Gulf Human Rights NGO call on release of Qataris in Saudi Arabia

Agencies – National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) called on Saudi Arabia to immediate release Qatari nationals detained in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has detained dozens of Qatari nationals since 2017 following the political rift between the gulf states.

Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri, chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of combating terrorism to take urgent action to find the whereabouts of the four Qatari nationals detained by the Saudi authorities and demand their immediate release. This came during a meeting with Ms. Fionola Delean, UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, on the sidelines of her visit to Doha to participate in a conference to address the issue of returnees from terrorist areas.

During the meeting, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri briefed the efforts of the National Human Rights Committee to counter terrorism and protect human rights, and the outcomes of the recommendations of the international conference held by the National Human Rights Committee in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Confronting Conflict in the Arab Region, held during the period from 20 to 21 February 2017, and the International Conference on the Challenges of Security and Human Rights in the Arab Region, held from 5 to 6 November 2014, in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior, the League of Arab States, and the Arab Network of National Human Rights Institutions, and attended by more than 300 organizations and prominent figures and representatives of the Interior and Justice Ministries.

The organisation briefed Ms. Fionola about the repercussions of the unjust blockade imposed on the State of Qatar since 5 June 2017, and the serious violations of human rights, as documented by the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and handed over copies of the annual reports of the National Human Rights Committee and the general report on the blockade imposed of Qatar.

Dr. Ali Bin Smeikh addressed the issue of the four Qatari nationals detained by the Saudi authorities, who are victims of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, calling for urgent action to know the fate of the detained Qatari nationals and pressure on the Saudi authorities to release them immediately, stressing that the fate of the four citizens is still unknown since their arrest by the Saudi authorities in arbitrary and unfair ways, pointing at the same time the efforts and moves made by the National Human Rights Committee to try to obtain information about them and demand the international community to pressure the Saudi authorities to reveal Their fate.

He also discussed with Ms. Fionola the issue of the terrorist lists declared by the countries of blockade which classify a number of institutions, personalities and humanitarian organizations in Qatar, along with human rights activists, journalists as terrorists, without any legal basis or argument, stressing that these lists aimed at discrediting the State of Qatar and attempts to level accusations of terrorism against Qatar, as well as the efforts of the blockading countries to strike at the charitable humanitarian work carried out by the State of Qatar and Qatari humanitarian organizations throughout the world.

On the other hand, Al Marri discussed during the meeting possible aspects of cooperation and a partnership to coordinate efforts to combat terrorism and protect human rights between the National Human Rights Committee and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.