Families ripped apart, freedom of expression under attack in Gulf: AI

Published On: June 12, 2017 03:15 AM NPT By: Republica


KATHMANDU, JUNE 11: Amnesty International (AI) has accused Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying peoples' livelihoods and education. 

Though an AI report makes no mention of the migrants working in Qatar, the turmoil in the Gulf is likely to affect some 400,000 Nepalis working in Qatar. 

AI said its assessment was based on interviews with dozens of people whose human rights have been affected by a series of sweeping measures imposed in an arbitrary manner by the three Gulf countries as their dispute with Qatar continues.

"For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear," said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Global Issues Programme, who was in Doha last week.  
AI said that the organization is seriously concerned about the impact of some of these steps on the rights to family life and education even as it takes no view on the political dispute itself.

The global rights organization has also taken exception to announcement of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to punish those who dare to criticize these measures.

On 5 June, all three states ordered Qatari nationals to leave their territories within 14 days, and announced that all of their nationals had to return from Qatar, threatening penalties for anyone who did not return within this timeframe. According to Qatar's National Human Rights Committee, more than 11,000 nationals of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE live in Qatar. Many Qataris also live in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. All have been potentially affected by these measures.

AI said it interviewed 35 people - nationals of Bahrain, Bangladesh, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - affected by these measures. Researchers met the majority of these people in Qatar. Others, based in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, were interviewed remotely.


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