Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qataris, insists Doha meets demands

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) speaks with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah (C), in the presence of Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (L), in Cairo, Egypt. (Egyptian Presidency/via Reuters)
Updated 17 July 2017
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Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qataris, insists Doha meets demands

CAIRO: Egypt will end visa-free entry for Qatari nationals with some exceptions, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, the latest measure taken against Doha which Cairo and three Gulf governments are boycotting.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the tiny Gulf monarchy, after accusing it of financing militant groups and allying with their regional arch-foe Iran. Doha denies the accusations.
“It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid. Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa in order to enter Egypt.
Qatari nationals with Egyptian mothers, those married to Egyptians, and Qataris studying in Egypt will be exempt from having to apply for a visa, he added.
Sources at Cairo International Airport told Reuters the decision would be implemented as of Thursday.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told his Kuwaiti counterpart earlier on Monday that Egypt is standing by the list of demands it and the three Gulf countries made of Qatar and will keep sanctions against Doha in place.
Kuwait has been leading mediation efforts between Qatar and the four Arab states boycotting it. Its top diplomat Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah met Shoukry and President Abdel Fattah al Sissi in Cairo on Monday.
“The Foreign Minister affirmed to his Kuwaiti counterpart Egypt’s commitment to the list of demands presented to the state of Qatar and the continuation of sanctions taken against it,” Abu Zeid said in a statement earlier.
The insistence comes “in light of what the quartet states see as Qatar’s stalling and procrastination, and lack of concern for the concerns of the four states,” he said.
Shoukry told Sabah the only way the crisis would be resolved was if Qatar fulfilled the demands, which include curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the pan-Arab al Jazeera satellite TV channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with rival Iran.
Sissi told Sabah he appreciated what Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was doing to preserve Arab unity but that Egypt would not let anyone interfere in its affairs and would stand strong against policies that support terrorism, his spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement.


Jordan ‘discriminatory’ stance on women criticized by rights group

Updated 24 April 2018
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Jordan ‘discriminatory’ stance on women criticized by rights group

  • Jordan violated both international law and its own constitution, which guarantees all Jordanians equality before the law — HRW
  • Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen provide equal rights to women and men to confer citizenship to their children

AMMAN: The global advocacy group Human Rights Watch has criticized Jordan for what it claims is a discriminatory policy toward women over the issue of nationality.

In a report released on Tuesday, the organization said Jordan violated both international law and its own constitution, which guarantees all Jordanians equality before the law.

In spite of progress made by other countries across the Middle East and North Africa to allow women to pass their nationality on to their children, Jordan has no plans to amend its nationality law. 

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen provide equal rights to women and men to confer citizenship to their children. Iraq and Mauritania allow women with foreign husbands to confer nationality to children born in the country.

Jordanian authorities restrict the rights of non-citizen children of Jordanian women to work, own property, travel, enrol in higher education, and access government health care and other services. 

“This is the first comprehensive report that deals with the half measures adopted in 2014 and shows that the government didn’t make any serious change of laws and regulations,” Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher for HRW, told Arab News.

In 2014, following domestic pressure, Jordanian authorities appeared ready to recognize non-citizen children of Jordanian women. The Cabinet issued a decision purporting to ease restrictions on their access to employment opportunities, public education, government health care, property ownership, investment and acquiring a driver’s license.

Almost half the Jordanian population are citizens of Palestinian origin, with 2 million registered refugees who are also citizens of Jordan. The report explained the argument used to deny Jordanian women equal rights with men. 

“Given that Jordan is home to one of the largest populations of Palestinian refugees and that the majority of Jordanian women married to foreign nationals are married to non-citizen Palestinian men who hold various legal statuses in Jordan, local politicians and officials’ chief argument against repealing this discriminatory policy is the claim that it would both undermine the effort to secure Palestinian statehood and alter Jordan’s demographic balance,” it said.

Human Rights Watch rejected this justification as discriminatory, saying it was not applied to Jordanian men who chose to marry foreign nationals, most of whom are also married to Palestinians.

“While I am totally for ending the discriminatory policy against Jordanian women, the government should immediately remove all barrier to their children,” Salma Nims, secretary-general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, whose organization was set to host the unveiling of the report, told Arab News.