The British human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday that recent humanitarian measures by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain were “vague and insufficient and do not address the human rights situation,” Qatar News Agency (QNA) has reported. The comment was made during a meeting between Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri, head of the National Human Rights Committee of the State of Qatar, and Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty, in London.
Both men raised the consequences of the siege imposed by the aforementioned Gulf States on Qatar, the serious violations of international human rights law and the violation of the basic rights of Gulf and Qatari citizens.
Shetty condemned the violations, stressing that Amnesty International would continue to work with all concerned parties to reach a resolution. He said that the rights of families split by the siege “must be restored in full, not only those chosen as exceptions,” stressing that these are basic human rights that cannot be fragmented.
During his visit to London, Al-Marri held several meetings with other relevant organisations, human rights figures and international lawyers.
At a meeting with officials from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), he discussed the effects of the siege on freedom of opinion and expression and the rights of journalists. The agenda covered the severe penalties faced by citizens in the countries leading the boycott should they express sympathy for Qatar. There is also a crackdown in those countries on journalists and online activists who criticise the blockade.
For its part, the IFJ expressed its condemnation of this harassment which restricted the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said the QNA. The organisation stressed the need to intervene quickly to stop the arbitrary measures that have resulted in the blocking of satellite channels and the closure of Al-Jazeera’s offices, a clear violation of media freedom.
Also discussed was the “terrorism list” produced by the same countries, which includes a number of well-known individuals and institutions.
Al-Marri asked all media organisations and NGOs concerned with press freedom to take urgent action to defend the rights of journalists and protect freedom of opinion and expression. He stressed the need to intensify efforts to expose the human rights violations resulting from the siege of Qatar.