Doha(ANN)-A senior Qatari official has strongly condemned the ongoing Saudi-led economic and diplomatic embargo against the energy-rich Persian Gulf country, describing the punitive measures as a violation of human rights and all international conventions.
Speaking at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lulwah al-Khater said the embargo in place against Qatar since 2017 “violates human rights and targets its citizens racially,” noting that the blockade constitutes a grave violation of human rights and all international principles.
She added that the repercussions of the blockade on Qatar “are still present in numerous human rights violations as regards religious and educational rights, freedom of movement and basic freedoms.”
“Such violations have targeted Qatari citizens based on their nationality,” Khater noted, stressing that the matter constitutes a serious and clear violation of all human rights regulations – the foremost of which is the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
On February 20, Qatar censured Saudi Arabia over barring its health minister from a recent emergency meeting of Persian Gulf countries in the Saudi capital Riyadh to discuss the growing concerns over the coronavirus, and means to unify regional efforts to combat it.
“Qatar expresses its concern that the Saudi authorities did not grant (Health Minister) Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari permission to enter Riyadh and attend a meeting on coronavirus preventive measures organized by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council… until the meeting had actually started,” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement at the time.
The statement added, “Saudi Arabia has repeatedly claimed that the (P)GCC, especially the technical committees, have not been affected by the crisis. Yet we are surprised to see that (Riyadh) is politicizing a humanitarian sector.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism.”
Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties with Doha. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic relations as well.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry later announced that the decision to cut diplomatic ties was unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.
On June 9, 2017, Qatar strongly dismissed allegations of supporting terrorism after the Saudi regime and its allies blacklisted dozens of individuals and entities purportedly associated with Doha.
Later that month, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of al-Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha.
The document also asked Qatar to sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.
Qatar rejected the demands as “unreasonable.”