Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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NHRC chairman: Qatar's blockade is a new Berlin Wall

Al-Marri called on the European Parliament to act upon the human rights violations of Qatar's citizens and residents.

Ali bin Samikh al-Marri

Qatar's Chairman of National Human Rights Committee Ali bin Samikh al-Marri has said that the blockade imposed on his country is like a "new Berlin Wall".

Speaking at a European Parliament meeting in Brussels, Marri urged the body to visit the NHRC headquarters to see what he referred to as the suffering of Qatari citizens by the new regulations of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"This is not just a case of diplomatic ties being cut off," Marri said. "What is happening is not a boycott but an unjust blockade and a collective punishment for Qatar's citizens and residents."

Since the Gulf crisis broke out more than two weeks ago, the three countries had cut off diplomatic ties and given Qatari citizens residing within their borders approximately 14 days to leave.

READ MORE on Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

Authorities of the three countries later backtracked and said that there would be exceptions for mixed-nationality families. However, the NHRC has documented cases where mothers were separated from their children.

Marri spoke of the "damages" caused by these rules, saying that they "directly affect international conventions on human rights".

Amnesty International has condemned this decision on and said that the Bahraini, Emirati and Saudi governments have "needlessly put mixed-nationality families at the heart of a political crisis".

Marri also informed European parliamentarians on Bahrain and the UAE's new laws of punishing their citizens who expressed solidarity with Qatar with a prison sentence that ranges from five to 15 years.

The chairman called on international institutions to take quick steps to ensure Bahraini, Emirati, and Saudi governments to reverse their recent decisions. He also called for the preparation of reports and data documenting the various types of violations that have occurred in large numbers, particularly with regard to the displacement of families.

"We are ready to visit these three countries to discuss and resolve the humanitarian crisis," he added.

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