January 10, 2018
The State of Qatar has received a copy of the Human Rights Report and of course we, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have seen this report. In this regard, the State of Qatar expresses its satisfaction with the issuance of the report and welcomes the documentation of human rights violations, contained therein, related to the blockade of the State of Qatar.
The importance of this report lies in the fact that it is the first international documentation of its kind. Prior to that, there were non-governmental human rights organizations that issued such statements and demands to the countries of the blockade. But this time the report was released on a international level, and this is the added value of this report.
On the other hand, we appreciate the role played by both the Technical Committee and the High Commissioner. It is recalled that the High Commissioner, following the declaration of the blockade and the unfair measures taken against the State of Qatar on June 5, demanded, in a press statement on June 14, the necessity of the speedy resolution of the Gulf crisis which affected the citizens. In this context, we value these effective and neutral efforts and, on the other hand, we remind of all efforts which had been made by the human rights organizations before that.
There is a real set of basic conclusions which could be derived from this report for the State of Qatar: The first point is that the report confirms the occurrence of gross damages; material and moral, both to the citizens and residents of Qatar. These damages have also affected the citizens of the blockading countries. This is an important issue because the blockading countries are still denying these damages and are saying they did not take place. Nevertheless, this is a UN report that confirms their occurrence without any doubt or debate in this matter.
The second important point in the report is that the measures taken against the State of Qatar did not differentiate between the government of Qatar; the targeted side as the blockading countries claim, and the citizens and individuals. This is a fundamental issue. In other words, the claims of the blockading countries that these measures are only actions against the Qatari government are totally baseless. This is what the report proves; i.e. the imposed measures do not distinguish between the government and the people of Qatar.
The third point, as you may remember, there is an argument about terminology, such as diplomatic boycotts and others. This report says, according to the text, that the measures taken against the State of Qatar go beyond the limits of diplomatic procedures. In other words, these measures cannot be described as mere diplomatic boycotts because they have affected many humanitarian, legal, economic areas and other issues. Moreover, the report described these measures, especially the economic ones, as economic war. And the expression contained in the English text in the report is "Economic Warfare" in the sense of economic war and this is a matter to be aware of.
The fourth point is that the State of Qatar did not respond with similar measures to the measures taken by the blockading countries; i.e. Qatar did not demand individuals or citizens of the siege countries to leave the State of Qatar, on the contrary, many of them are still working in Qatar. One example, which can be cited in this regard, is the health field and health services; where, from September to the time of the Technical Mission's visit in September, individuals from the four blockading countries residing in the State of Qatar have received health care from health centers and hospitals that exceeded 300,000 cases between September and November. This indicates that the State of Qatar has not taken any discriminatory measures against any individuals belonging to the blockading countries. Contrary to what the blockading countries have done to the citizens of the State of Qatar and to their own citizens as well.
The fifth point in this area is the hate speech; and this is an important issue and as media personnel you may care about. The report stated that the media of the blockading countries broadcasts speech that incites hatred and this is an important issue. They referred to art work that was produced to incite hatred towards Qatar, and sometimes art work that was aimed at specific individuals. All of these issues have been documented.
These are the basic conclusions derived from the report. The question is what is next? The State of Qatar welcomes the report and its results, but what are the following steps and actions? In this regard, I would like to emphasize that the Technical Committee - the Compensation Committee of course – has compiled all the violations committed, whether companies, the government of the State of Qatar or individuals. This compilation of violations accompanied by all the documents is now available and constitutes a legal basis through which we can move. This movement can be based on the fact that these countries have violated agreements, contracts or liabilities. The documents are now complete in terms of evidence and reinforced by this report. Therefore, we can move now, and movement has already begun through organizations, law firms and internationally, whether through the international arbitration, the international judiciary or the UN institutions. In the past, we wished the situation to be resolved through normal diplomatic channels, through dialogue or through brotherly relations, but as long as this damage affects individuals, citizens or residents, they have the right to recover their rights and the State of Qatar will spare no effort in this respect.
Regarding the Report and the coming steps.
Now, we open the door for questions, both in relation to the report or any other subject.
Question: Mr. Ibrahim Badawe from Al-Rayya-Newspaper. Is the report be moved to the UN, the Security council or the General assembly so as to be activated? Your expectations as to the result of moving the report to UN, especially there is always a barrier i.e. sovereignty?
Question: Mohamed Osman from The Peninsula. The State of Qatar has welcomed what was in the report as it was issued by a neutral body, though Qatar may have some reservations and some remarks, are there any aspects in the report you wished to be contained but they didn't?
Answer: Concerning the first question, the move on the international level, there are actual movements, as you know, a movement towards some international organizations, and as I said there is room for the international judicial system or even to the international arbitration, all options are now open in front of us.
As for the report, I can say, the report in its generality covered all aspects. I know there were some issues announced by Dr. Ali bin Smaikh as a human rights committee, but, for the State of Qatar the report was comprehensive.
Question: Mohamed from Bloomberg News: I would like to know what tangible ideas you are going to adopt considering the damage sustained, either by resorting to judicial or other aspects as arbitration, If you had any ideas please, explain, thank you
Another Question. Two main questions by David Harding (AFP), I would like to understand the characterization in relation to the economic war specified by the UN? Does Qatar agree with such specification?
The second issue, do you know the number of persons, sectors or people affected during the past seven months?
Answer: Concerning the first question, I would say the first step we have taken was documentation which for us represents a very important step, as I said before, we tried to solve this crisis through dialogue and the diplomatic channels, but unfortunately most violations affect the individuals and personal lives so even if the government decided to suspend its rights, it is difficult to postpone damages to individuals, that was why we began to deal with international law firms to pursue such cases, in addition to the arbitration which is another option across the board.
As for the second question, in relation to the definition of the term of the economic war. I would say, yes, we definitely agree as the Government of the State of Qatar. Now, let me come to you in relation to this issue. Yes, in relation to the details referred to, there are seven hundred litigations documented by the same committee. Perhaps, the national committee may have other figures but I will return to you concerning this point.
Question: Maeiat Allah from the Arab and Al-Quds Al-Arabi Newspaper: To-day the Human rights Committee has said that," the merit of the UN report is that it was issued from an international body, which is binding, because the blockading states used to neglect those reports. My question to-day to the Qatari Government, through the relationships Qatar has with a variety of States, what is required from other states? Because many states used to be neutral under the pretext that there is no international report, what does the State of Qatar require from the other states? Do you think as spokesperson, that the blockading nations concern themselves with this report? As you know, these countries used to not admit all these allegations.
Question: Kuwait’s Emir in his last speech in the meeting of the Shura Council, said that", Gulf's dispute, no matter how long it lasts, it’s going to be a passing dispute, do you feel any kind of dialogue or any kind of solution in prospect, as for example, to re- activate the mediation again by the State of Kuwait?
Regarding the first question, what the State of Qatar demands from other countries, especially in the light of the issuance of the UN report. Firstly, we must emphasize that the blockading countries can no longer claim what they claimed in the past saying that these organizations are non-governmental organizations and they do not recognize the reports of these organizations etc. these are neutral organizations and the blockading countries also have representation in these organizations. Now the ball is in the court of the blockading countries because they refused to give access to the technical missions to enter their countries. If they were sincere in their call, we invite these countries to allow these technical missions to enter their territories and identify such violations. Most of the countries stand by and support the State of Qatar, our bilateral relations have improved and we wish to continue these partnerships with all the countries of the world.
Concerning the statements of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, of course, the State of Qatar appreciates the great role played by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait and the State of Kuwait in general, and such appreciation emanates from several events, including but not limited to, the participation of His Highness the Amir in the GCC summit, this appreciation is genuine and we 'll support him until the end, any solution that can be achieved through this mediation will not change this attitude.
Regarding any easing of the blockade by the blockading countries, still all means of communication between us are broken. We hope to see any kind of breakthrough in this crisis, and we hope to open any channels of dialogue to resolve it.
Question: Mohammed al-Akhdar from al-Sharq newspaper, we observed the continuation of hate speech, incitement and violence against the State of Qatar from the officials and media in the blockading countries. There is even a Saudi media figure who was at a conference against Qatar in Bahrain, inciting Oman and Kuwait to end their mediation role and stop supporting Qatar. What is your response to this role and are there any international actions in the direction of holding accountable those responsible for the speech of violence and hatred against Qatar and Qatari people?
If we want to link Qatar to the report itself; the report stressed that there is a hate speech in the media of the blockading countries, in addition to the report, some individuals affiliated with government bodies in the blockading countries incite and encourage such speech.
For our part, we will not respond in the same way. We always demand to maintain fraternal relations. We hope that these differences are fleeting, and that the origin is good fraternal relations. We never encourage such a speech, back to the previous question concerning the Kuwaiti mediation. Perhaps we all mention the speech in the Kuwaiti Majlis al Umma and the appeal launched by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, when he called for the adoption of the ethics of dialogue and discourse, and this is a historical responsibility, the question is not concerning the actual generation, it is the question of how the future generations will remember this stage and this crisis.
Question: Osama Saad al-Din al-Arabi, my question is a comment on what was mentioned in the report, the names and personalities and perhaps officials in the blockading countries, specifically the United Arab Emirates, is Qatar entitled to raise a case against individuals or against officials themselves, and secondly, in the same context, I ask why not call from the United Nations to hold a session of the Human Rights Council as well as the General Assembly of the United Nations on the conclusions of the UN report and what came in the report?
Of course, there is another aspect to your question, but here we talk about the general principle, and the general principle reserved right means, for example, if some individuals attack some individuals in the State of Qatar in their personal capacity. This right is guaranteed to the individuals in principle. We must remember that there was another question, Why six months? It must be remembered that documentation is very important, we can't move without documentation. In fact, a number of bodies, whether the compensation committee in the State of Qatar or the National Human Rights Commission, With great efforts, thanks to the two Committees these efforts in this area of documentation and this first step will be followed by other steps that will effectively restore the rights to their owners.
Thank you very much for this meeting and, God willing, we 'll meet you in an upcoming meeting.