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UN expert urges countries on lifting Qatari blockade

November 20, 2020 at 3:48 pm

A view of the skyscrapers in Doha, Qatar, 28 December 2019 [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

An independent United Nations expert urged countries which are blockading Qatar as part of a regional dispute led by Saudi Arabia to “immediately” lift all sanctions against Doha, Al Jazeera reported.

UN Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, called for the blockading nations to “immediately withdraw all sanctions/measures aimed at establishing restrictions on freedom of expression, movement, access to property, trade barriers, and ban tariffs, quotas, non-tariff measures … for people living in Qatar in violation of international legal standards.”

The report also highlighted the wrongful treatment of Qataris expelled by the boycotting countries at the start of the blockade, which interrupted family relations, work and study.

Douhan added that she is “still concerned about the numerous substantiated reports that unilateral sanctions discriminated and continue to discriminate against Qataris,” adding that such measures represent a pattern of “persistent and systematic human rights violations”.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July backed Qatar in the dispute with its four neighbours that imposed an air blockade against Doha in 2017. Doha had filed a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in October 2017, four months after the boycott began, arguing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE had violated the international convention on the free passage of passenger planes through foreign airspace.

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