Qatar crisis report rapped as biased, deficient

Manama: The UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, the Quartet that cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June over its links to extremism and terrorism, have condemned a report by a United Nations mission as “misleading, biased and based on a methodological defect”.

The Quartet also accused Qatar of showing disdain for any effort to resolve the political crisis, and of lacking sincere intentions to restore its ties with the four countries.

“The report by the UN Technical Mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which visited Doha from November 17 to 24, involves a methodological defect and includes a misleading description of the political crisis,” the Quartet said in a joint statement. “The conclusions and remarks were built on a limited understanding of the general context of the political crisis and its historic background.”

The Quartet stated the crisis that came out in the open on June 5 and resulted in the cutting off of relations was the result of Qatar’s support for individuals and entities internationally involved in financing terrorism, supporting its activities and promoting its extremist ideology.

“The ideology incites to violence and spreads the discourse of hatred in the Arab region through media platforms that belong either directly or indirectly to Qatar or are financed by Qatari figures,” the statement issued late on Tuesday evening noted.

“The four countries affirm that their boycott of Qatar falls under the practice of their sovereign rights to protection and defence of national security. It is a normal response that is not comparable in size or effect with what Qatar has perpetrated through its support of terrorism in clear breach of the UN Charter, international law and relevant decisions by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, which highlight the negative repercussions of terrorism on human rights.”

The four countries issued a list of 13 demands and five principles and wanted Qatar to comply with them.

Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has been exerting efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides, but so far no incremental success has been reported.

The Quartet rejected a claim in the report that the measures they took did not “differentiate between the Qatari government and the Qatari people”.

“The measures we took to protect our countries and peoples did not target the Qatari people who share with us bonds of fraternity, blood kinship and affinity. Some Qataris come from the same tribes as the people in some of the boycotting countries.”

The four countries said they fully rejected the content and conclusions of the report, on “the impact of the Gulf Crisis on human rights”, for containing “numerous baseless allegations and accusations.”

The report clearly takes the side of one of the parties in the political crisis, by fostering the Qatari narrative built on flimsy allegations that the Doha government seeks to market regionally and internationally, the Quartet charged.

“The four countries note their reservation on the timing and the way the report’s contents were leaked by the Qatari National Human Rights Committee during a press conference it held on January 8 in Doha. The Office of the High Commissioner did not send them the report until after it was published on Monday, January 8.”

The Quartet said the nature of the technical reports prepared by the OHCHR upon the request of member states aims to transfer expertise to develop the human rights system and address human rights violations that occur within the state itself.

“It was clear that the main aim of Qatar’s invitation of the OHCHR Technical Mission was to exploit it and its report in its political and media propaganda. It was not for the noble goal of Qatar benefiting from the technical expertise transferred by the Mission. The four countries denounce the persistence of Qatar’s policies based on a lack of credibility and lack of goodwill in dealing with the United Nations and its specialised international agencies as well as with their reports.”

The Quartet called on the OHCHR to address the methodological and procedural errors in the report that it deemed incompatible with international standards and inconsistent with the OHCHR’s terms of reference and the nature of the work of the Technical Mission dispatched to Qatar.

The report should be confined to the geographical scope of the state that asked for technical support.

“The Quartet stresses that Qatar’s disregard for any serious initiatives to solve the political crisis, and its continued attempts to mislead the international community with regard to the real causes of the issue by approaching the international organisations to hurl accusations against the boycotting countries despite the laudable efforts of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, indicate that it does not have — in the foreseeable future — any genuine and sincere intention to restore its ties with the four countries.”

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