The United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Friday May 3rd, confirmed that the measures taken as a response to Qatar's support of extremism and terrorist groups were in accordance with international law and did not target the Qatari people.
In a speech before the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva (CERD), the UAE delegation refuted Doha's “malicious accusations” against the UAE's actions which had been described as "racial discrimination." The delegation strongly condemned the Qatari accusations saying they were baseless, had no grounds or legal basis.
Qatar filed a complaint to CERD against the UAE in March 2018 claiming the latter had contradicted international convention, following the boycott of Qatar by the UAE and other countries in the region, instigated by Qatari support of terrorism.
In June 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut its diplomatic relations with Qatar, boycotting it as it continued to support terrorism. Before that, the four countries urged Qatar to stop funding terrorism and terrorist movements, and to stop interfering with the internal affairs of countries in the region. However, the Qatari regime has not stopped funding terrorist movements, along with causing unrest and troubles throughout the region. The four countries have also imposed measures boycotting the Qatari government.
The UAE added that Qatar's complaint to CERD is part of Doha's public relations campaign, which is full of “falsehoods and aimed at distracting attention from the dire consequences of Qatar’s state-sponsored terrorism”.
It explained that it has taken measures to facilitate Qatari citizens entry to the country, despite the negative policies of their government, which still supports extremist groups and terrorists throughout the region.
The Emirati delegation added that the series of measures it had taken after severing ties with Qatar in 2017 were in accordance with international law, because Doha had failed to meet its commitments and had not stopped supporting extremism and terrorism.
The United Arab Emirates delegation, headed by diplomat Abdullah Hamdan al-Naqbi, said that the government allowed Qatari people to enter the country through a special free system, instead of visas, after they apply for entry online or by phone call. All this was announced in June 2017.
The delegation added that requiring prior permission to enter a country is a standard global practice, sovereignty right for any country and "cannot be labelled as racial discrimination”.
Al Naqbi, who is the Director of the International Law Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said that the complaint should not have been lodged in the first place as it had nothing to do with any form of racial discrimination.
He added, "UAE measures regarding Qatari citizens are compliant with international law and can’t be classified under any forms of racial segregation combated by the Committee whose mandate is to fight all forms of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Accordingly, the UAE can never be accused of violating the agreement in any way."
Al-Naqbi concluded that Qatar chose to file complaints thinking that the approach would damage the boycotting countries, but in fact, it would be better for Qatar to review its policies in support of extremism and terrorism.
CERD is formed of independent experts who monitor State parties’ implementation of the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. The UAE has been a party to the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination since 1974. All member countries are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. The Committee studies each report and outlines its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.