UAE – The United Arab Emirates have strongly refuted accusations of racial discrimination brought against it by Qatar.
A special session of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva saw both sides lay out their arguments, with the UAE issuing a strong-worded statement against the accusations of Qatar, which it says “have no legal basis”.
Qatar made the complaint to the committee back in March 2018, claiming actions the UAE took following a breakdown in relations between the two states and subsequent boycott of Qatar by the Quartet of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in 2017 countered the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The UAE, however, says the complaint comes with a political background, adding that actions taken against Qatar as a nation were never meant to maliciously target any Qatar individuals.
“The UAE made it mandatory for all Qatar citizens overseas to obtain prior permission for entry into the country. Qatar citizens already resident in the UAE don’t need to apply for permission to continue residence in the UAE,” the statement presented to the Committee on Friday read.
“However, all Qatar citizens resident in the UAE are encouraged to obtain prior permission for re-entry into the territory. All applications for entry clearance may be made for free online or through a telephone hotline opened in June 2017.”
Abdullah Hamdan Al Naqbi, Director of the International Law Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and UAE representative before the committee, said that the complaint should not have been lodged in the first place as it had no connection to any form of racial discrimination.
“The measures regarding citizens of Qatar are compliant with international law and can’t be classified in any way and form as racial segregation combated by the Committee whose mandate is to fight all forms of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Accordingly, the United Arab Emirates can never be accused of violating the agreement in such way.”
“Qatar’s malicious campaigns are meant to inflict damage on the Boycotting Quartet. Instead, Doha should have reconsidered its position in regards to support for terrorism and extremism,” the United Arab Emirates representative concluded, expressing the countries belief that “Qatar’s tendency to lodge complaints further undermines its reputation and will backfire.”