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Qatar takes boycotting countries to court

June 28, 2018 at 2:52 am

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began, Wednesday, looking into the conflict between Qatar and its neighbouring Gulf States after receiving a complaint from Qatar. Meanwhile, the Gulf States that imposed the embargo plan to submit a counter-complaint amid reciprocal accusations of “human rights violations” and violation of airspace.

Qatar submitted its case of conflict with the United Arab Emirates to the highest judicial body of the United Nations, based in The Hague, a year after the Gulf States cut ties with it.

“Despite the historically-close relations,” the UAE has taken a series of discriminatory measures against my country and my people on the basis of Qatari nationality,” said a lawyer representing Qatar at The Hague the court.

Lawyer Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi continued: “The United Arab Emirates has created an atmosphere of hatred toward Qatar and Qataris to the extent that people in the UAE are even afraid to speak to members of their families who live in Qatar.”

On 5 June, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of “funding terrorism,” which Qatar denied, and of having close ties with Iran.

Read: UAE prince ‘defects’ to Qatar

Qatar condemned the imposition of an air, sea and land embargo and the expulsion of its citizens from other Gulf States.

Qatar’s neighbouring states have closed their airspace to Qatari airlines, closed the only land borders of the gas-rich state that links it to Saudi Arabia and expelled Qatari nationals from their territories.

On the other hand, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt announced, Wednesday, through official media outlets that they intend to submit a complaint to the International Court of Justice.

These states accuse Qatar of violating their airspace in a way that threatens the civil aviation movement.

The UAE has accused Qatari fighter jets of approaching civilian aircrafts in Bahrain’s airspace, which Doha denied.

Racial discrimination

While the date of the consideration of the second complaint has not yet been determined, the 16 judges of the International Court of Justice have started, Wednesday, the hearing sessions of Qatar’s arguments inside the Peace Palace.

Qatar is demanding the International Court of Justice to order Abu Dhabi to “immediately suspend and repeal the discriminatory measures that are currently imposed on it,” “publicly condemn racial discrimination” against Qataris and return to Qataris their “rights.”

Doha demands also that the UAE compensate for to the damages that affected the state.

The International Court of Justice looks into conflicts between states, but has no means of enforcing its decisions.

Read: We need to address the UAE’s appalling human rights record

The Qatari case relies on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was signed in 1965 and was one of the first international conventions on human rights. Qatar and the UAE are part of the signatory states to this convention.

All diplomatic efforts, especially those made by Kuwait and the US, have failed since the beginning of the crisis in the Gulf, which has been one of the most stable regions in the Arab world.

The dispute has shaken the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes the six Gulf Arab states since its founding in 1981.

The conflict contributed to the emergence of a new diplomatic axis between Qatar, Turkey and Iran.

Qatar asserts that its adversaries are seeking to put its foreign policy “under guardianship.”