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Amnesty: Gulf families face uncertain future due to Qatar blockade

June 7, 2018 at 10:19 am

People queue for flight details during a land, sea and air blockade applied by the GCC countries, at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar on 12 June 2017 [Ahmed Youssef Elsayed Abdelrehim/Anadolu Agency]

The blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt has torn the social fabric in the Gulf Arab states, hurt families and individuals and cast a dark shadow over the region, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday.

The lives of thousands of families and individuals in the Gulf is no longer the same, the human rights group said.

“In a region where the social fabric is made up of inter-marriages and ties across all countries, families from mixed nationalities were ripped apart, students had to cut short their education, others lost their jobs, and pilgrims from Qatar were banned from accessing holy sites in Saudi Arabia,” the report said.

The organisation called on all states involved in the crisis to ensure that their actions do not lead to human rights violations. “The organisation continues to call on Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE to lift all arbitrary restrictions on the freedom of movement of citizens, including the right of Qataris and residents to access holy sites in Saudi Arabia,” it said.

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It noted that a year after the Gulf crisis erupted, the situation has not improved with residents facing an uncertain future.

Amnesty International called on all states involved in the crisis to ensure that their actions do not lead to human rights violations.

On 5 June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.

The four countries also imposed an embargo on Qatar and issued a long list of demands, including the closure of Doha-based news broadcaster Al Jazeera, under the threat of further sanctions.

Qatar has refused to submit, denying charges that it supports terrorism and describing the bloc’s efforts to isolate it as a violation of international law and an infringement of its national sovereignty.