UNHRC on Qatar diplomatic crisis

PRESS RELEASE
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on impact on human rights

GENEVA (14 June 2017) – “I am alarmed about the possible impact on many people’s human rights in the wake of the decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar.

It is becoming clear that the measures being adopted are overly broad in scope and implementation, and have the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of thousands of women, children and men, simply because they belong to one of the nationalities involved in the dispute. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have issued directives to address the humanitarian needs of families with joint nationalities, but it appears that these measures are not sufficiently effective to address all cases.

We are receiving reports that specific individuals have already been summarily instructed to leave the country they are residing in, or have been ordered to return home by their own Government. Among those likely to be badly affected are couples in mixed marriages, and their children; people with jobs or businesses based in States other than that of their nationality; and students studying in another country.

I am also extremely troubled to hear that the UAE and Bahrain are threatening to jail and fine people who express sympathy for Qatar or opposition to their own governments’ actions, as this would appear to be a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression or opinion.

I urge all the States involved to solve this dispute as quickly as possible through dialogue, to refrain from any actions that could affect the well-being, health, employment and integrity of their inhabitants, and to respect their obligations under international human rights law.”