The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has slammed the statement issued on Saturday by the Saudi authorities, which claims the kingdom addressed the violations resulting from the blockade, calling it an attempt to mislead the public and provide false pretexts to justify abuses, sanctions and arbitrary unilateral measures.
In statement yesterday, NHRC said that, “At a time when the National Human Rights Committee and international organisations were hoping that Saudi Arabia would resolve the humanitarian crisis, lift violations and compensate victims of the blockade, the Saudi authorities have attempted to mislead the public by providing false pretexts to justify violations, sanctions and arbitrary unilateral measures, and also went on to claim that they addressed the violations resulting from the blockade.
The NHRC noted that the Saudi authorities, in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency on September 7, are making a failed attempt to deceive the public and the international community by giving misleading statistics and figures to cover up their violations against citizens and residents of Qatar, warning that attempts to conceal facts would not work for the Saudi authorities.
NHRC noted that since the beginning of the blockade it has reached out to the relevant human rights bodies in Saudi Arabia to address damages affecting the rights and remedies of victims, without receiving any response from them.
Also, in November 2017, the Saudi authorities did not allow the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights technical mission to assess the impact of these measures on human rights.
There was also lack of responsiveness to the letters of private rapporteurs and international organisations. But the report submitted to the Human Rights Council at its 42nd session (from September 9-27, 2019) issued by the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, paragraph 38, states that “coercive measures imposed by various groups of Gulf countries on Qatar remain in force.”
NHRC stressed that the unilateral measures and sanctions imposed on Qatar are a complete blockade against its citizens and residents, and this is a flagrant violation of all international human rights treaties and conventions.
Most of the violations committed by the Saudi authorities are documented by the United Nations, international organisations and specialised international agencies. In this context, NHRC confirmed that it was continuing to provide these organisations with all the required data and documents, and demanded Saudi Arabia to allow the technical mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit the kingdom to assess violations resulting from coercive measures taken by the Saudi authorities.
This is in addition to the demand of a fact-finding committee, established by the Council Human Rights, to visit Saudi Arabia.
NHRC also called on Riyadh to recognise the competence of the International Court of Justice in accordance with article 22 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to consider its allegations of human rights violations as a result of the blockade, considering that respect for human rights should begin with the recognition of the role of international protection and accountability mechanisms and not just claim through statements to distort and mislead international public opinion.