Innocent people suffering from blockade: British delegation
30 Sep 2017 - 0:26
By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
Expressing serious concerns over human rights implications of ongoing blockade of Qatar, British parliamentarians have demanded that the siege must be lifted unconditionally and political differences should be resolved only through negotiations.
A four-member cross party delegation from both Houses of the British parliament is in Doha to assess the impact of siege particularly in relation to human rights.
Talking to The Peninsula, Lord Nazir Ahmed and Grahame Morris MP said that the innocent people of the region who used to live as a single Arab family were suffering from the blockade imposed on Qatar by neighbouring countries.
Lord Qurban Hussain also demanded that the lifting of blockade would pave the way for amicable resolution of the crisis through dialogue and mediation efforts of Kuwait.
“The purpose of cross-party delegation, one from the House of Commons and three from the House of Lords, is to see the impact of blockade on people of Qatar, its economy, education, health etc.”
He said that the delegation had also met siege-affected families who were facing serious social problems. “They (GCC people) are the people with same culture, religion and tribes. They are intertwined by mixed-marriages therefore this separation is creating great sufferings for them,” he noted.
Lord Nazir Ahmed
Lord Nazir Ahmed said that quick conciliation was the need of the hour for which Kuwait mediation could play a great role. “Britain is encouraging and supporting Kuwaiti mediation,” he said adding that Arab countries could play pivotal role to resolve the impasse.
He said that he was in favour of “unconditional lifting of blockade” imposed against Qatar. He said that by presenting ‘ridiculous’ 13-demands, Saudi-led bloc had stuck itself in a no-backtrack situation which was unfortunate.
To a question about blockading countries’ ‘Qatar supports terrorism’ allegations, Lord Nazir’s reply was “complete nonsense”.
“Qatar did a wonderful work in resolving Darfur crisis. I myself was involved in it.”
Lord Nazir said that the delegation would share its findings with various government offices as well as with media on its return to UK.
Grahame Morris MP told The Peninsula that human rights implications of Qatar blockade were very serious. “We are here to investigate the consequences of the siege particularly its implications for human rights.”
He said that the delegation had also heard testimonies from the people affected by the blockade. “We met various individuals whose religious, educational rights were violated. Also, many people cannot make property transactions or continue medical treatments due to ongoing blockade.”
Morris said that the delegation was collecting evidence from individuals and organisations affected by the blockade.
“On my first visit to Qatar, I have learnt that it is a wonderful country and its value should be protected,” he said, adding that Saudi-led bloc had failed providing any justification to Kuwait for the embargo they imposed on Qatar. “We have not seen any such evidence yet.”
He said that the international community should exert pressure on the blockading countries to make Kuwaiti mediation efforts successful. “Ordinary people who are totally innocent are suffering from the crisis. They are one family, one Arab family.”
Morris said that if the siege continued for a longer period of time it would hit the whole region economically including the blockading countries therefore it should be resolved ‘quickly’.
Lord Qurban Hussain
Lord Qurban Hussain said that the blockade had huge impact on human rights. “This whole region is one where people have deep family, business connections.”
“The crisis needs to be resolved quickly and peacefully. Kuwait is taking the lead to resolve the issue and Britain, EU and the US are supporting Kuwaiti mediation efforts,” Lord Hussain added.
He noted that the first step towards resolving the crisis was lifting of the blockade. “People are not able to even perform Haj and Umrah. They cannot continue their studies and get medical treatment. This thing should end and people should be able to move freely while political issues can be settled at government to government level without involving people in the crisis.”
He said that Qatar’s response to the siege was “very tolerant and diplomatic”.
“They did not show any anger and avoided retaliation. I also listened to Qatar Foreign Minister when he presented his country’s case in Britain and he presented Qatar’s stance diplomatically without war of words,” Lord Hussain added.