11 Jan 2018 – 7:56

Qatar to seek international arbitration to end blockade

Lulwah Al Khater, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office, yesterday. Pic: Baher Amin / The Peninsula

By Mohammed Osman | The Peninsula

DOHA: All options are available with the State of Qatar to approach international forums and seek arbitration through international courts, other organisations or the UN institutions for bringing the blockade to an end, said Lulwah Al Khater, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The report of UN technical mission from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) which has come from a neutral international body is satisfactory, comprehensive and has included important points,” she said, while addressing a press briefing yesterday.

qatar airways

After more than seven months are spent on documentation of violations and damages inflicted by the blockade imposed on the State of Qatar and affected the government, individuals, companies; Qatar has begun to seek the means of arbitration to get the unjust blockade ended, Al Khater stressed describing the UN report as an added value which strengthened the evidence of the violations and the legal position of Qatar.

She added that the State of Qatar hopes that the issues can be resolved through diplomatic channels and dialogue, but maintained that residents and citizens whose rights have been violated deserve to be compensated and the government will do its utmost in this regard.

Al Khater highlighted the report issued by the UN technical mission from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) which documented the human rights violations related to the siege imposed on Qatar and the GCC crisis.

The report proved that the measures made by siege countries did not differentiate between the government of Qatar and its citizens and residents. It was against the claims of siege states that the measures were only directed against the government of Qatar.

“This is a baseless claim, and it has been proved wrong by the report. Qatar does agree with what has been confirmed in the report that measures taken by the blockading countries, especially the economic ones are an economic warfare,” she said.

Al Khater added: “This is an issue that must be taken into consideration.”

It is worth mentioning that the UN technical mission from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) visited Doha between November 17 and 24 to investigate the repercussions of the siege on the human right practices and the humanitarian situation of the citizens, residents and GCC citizens who stay in Qatar.

Al Khater highlighted the important role carried by the technical mission and the call made on June 14 by the High Commissioner for ending the Gulf crisis.

“When the siege on Qatar was announced on June 5, the High Commissioner called on June 14 for a quick settlement of the crisis especially with regards to the unjust procedures that affected citizens and individuals”.

She also praised all the effective efforts carried out by all human rights organizations.

Al Khater said that the report proves the hefty financial and moral damages that fell on the citizens and residents of the State of Qatar.

Al Khater said the report has concluded the ongoing debate on whether it is a diplomatic blockade or a siege, adding that the report proved that the siege measures have exceeded the limits of diplomatic procedures.

Damages affected Qataris, residents and citizens of the siege countries and left negative impact on humanitarian, rights, economical and other aspects. This is an important issue, especially when the siege countries are denying these damages.

Al Khater further said that since this report was issued by a UN entity, which the siege countries are also members of, refused the entry of the technical missions to their countries, but they can no longer make excuses that the reports supporting the position of the State of Qatar are issued by non-governmental organizations and may not be recognized.

Al Khater highlighted that the State of Qatar did not take similar measures like the blockading countries and did not demand citizens of siege countries to leave, rather they are enjoying all rights as before the crisis.
For instance she said: “health services provided by Qatar to the citizens of the siege countries residing here during the September, November period surpassed the 300,000 mark.”

Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Al Khater said the report documented the hate speech broadcast on the siege countries’ media and documented acts of incitement against the State of Qatar.

On the measures that the State of Qatar will take, Al Khater said that the Compensation Claims Committee, established to determine the damages resulting from the violations, will be the legal basis for international action.

Al Kahter outlined that all lines of communications with the siege countries are still cut, expressing hope that a dialogue can take place in the future in order to resolve the situation, highlighting the big role played by Emir of Kuwait H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah since the beginning of the crisis.