Qatar opposition event starts in London amid high security

An aerial view of Qatar’s capital, Doha (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2017
0

Qatar opposition event starts in London amid high security

DUBAI: Members of the Qatari opposition are speaking publically for the first time at an event debating the situation in Qatar.
Shrouded in secrecy amid concerns over interference by the Qatari government and its supporters, the Qatar, Global Security and Stability Conference has also attracted a line-up of world renowned speakers, including the former US Ambassador to the UN, and an ex-British Cabinet Minister.
Security was tight at the event, held at a hotel in the east of the capital, with sniffer dogs prowling the site before it opened. They will be joined by members of the Qatari opposition – exiled Qataris pressing for reform in the country who have never spoken previously in public.
The conference will focus on five main topics: Political Islam and terrorist groups; Qatar and Iran’s Foreign Policy, a source of regional instability; Democracy, human rights and a quest for global prestige; Al Jazeera – free press or voice of terror; and Qatar’s economic and geopolitical influence.
The event’s organizer Khalid Al-Hail, spokesman for the Qatar National Democratic Party, which earlier told Arab News that he “feared for his life” because of perceived threats over his opposition stance.
The conference comes as the diplomatic crisis between the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) and Qatar enters its fourth month.
The ATQ was formed in June by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, the four nations that initially severed ties with Qatar in June amid allegations that it supported terror.
Attending this week’s event are a number of senior politicians including Britain’s Lord Paddy Ashdown, former US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, former British Prime Minister Iain Duncan Smith, and other prominent commentators.
Al-Hail said ahead of the event: “The support we have received from some of the most respected and high-profile commentators on the Middle East, World Affairs and the media demonstrates the level of concern there is inside and outside Qatar about the current direction of the leadership of the country.”


Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

Updated 16 July 2019
0

Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

  • Iceland spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the Philippines' deadly anti-drug crackdown
  • Philippine police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016.

MANILA: The Philippine president is “seriously considering” cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland, which spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the thousands of deaths of suspects under his anti-drug crackdown.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters late Monday that the Iceland-initiated resolution which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in a vote last week in Geneva showed “how the Western powers are scornful of our sovereign exercise of protecting our people from the scourge of prohibited drugs.”
Panelo says President Rodrigo Duterte “is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland” for initiating the “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan” resolution.
Human rights groups, however, have lauded the resolution as crucial to helping end the drug killings and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The Philippines’ highest-ranking lawmaker said on Monday a UN resolution to probe the country’s bloody war on drugs should be ignored, and its chief backer Iceland be investigated instead for human rights abuses in allowing abortion.
“They have more unborn babies that they have aborted or killed. There are more killings in abortion than the drug pushers who are fighting the police,” Senate President Vicente Sotto told ANC news channel.
The Nordic nation lacks moral grounds to lecture the Philippines on human rights, Sotto said. “So we should disregard that resolution.”
His remarks are the latest in a series of comments from lawmakers urging the government to not cooperate after the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted Iceland’s resolution to investigate thousands of deaths under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016. Critics and rights group said authorities summarily execute suspects, which the police deny.
“The criminals can fight back, the babies cannot. What human rights are they talking about?” Sotto said, adding that drug dealers that fight back and destroy families lose their human rights.
His comments about abortion echoed those made by incoming Senator Imee Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Rights groups, which hailed the UN vote as a step toward accountability, point out that the bloody anti-narcotics campaign is marked by systematic cover-ups, planted evidence and impunity.
The president’s spokesman on Monday warned countries not to meddle with the state’s affairs.
“All incidents in the war on drugs are tallied, recorded. All they have to do is ask us, not to pre-judge us,” presidential spokesman Spokesman Panelo told a regular news conference. “It behoves them to render respect to a sovereign state.”
Duterte on Friday mocked Iceland as an ice-eating nation without understanding of his country’s problems.