Persecuted Qatari tribe renew protests in Geneva

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Sheikha Moza did not leave the building until the demonstration was over. (File/AFP)
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The protesters had gathered outside the conference (Supplied)
Updated 06 March 2019
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Persecuted Qatari tribe renew protests in Geneva

  • Activists were distributing leaflets to delegates which highlighted their plight
  • Qatari regime was offended by the demonstration

JEDDAH:  Members of a Qatari family persecuted by the regime in Doha renewed their protests on Tuesday at the Swiss Press Club in Geneva.
For more than 20 years the Al-Ghufrans have been systematically stripped of their citizenship, suffered discrimination and forced displacement, and been denied basic health, education and social services.
The Al-Ghufrans are part of the Al-Murrah tribe, supporters of Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the former emir of Qatar who was deposed in 1995 in a coup by his son, Sheikh Hamad. The family have been persecuted since then.
“These violations that started in 1996 are still ongoing,” said Dr. Ali Al-Marri, a delegation leader. “They are mainly committed by the Qatari Ministry of Interior and the alleged private Human Rights Committee.”
He stressed the seriousness of the violations, which “contradict the International Convention of Human Rights and all the international human-rights pacts,” and added: “Depriving the tribe members of their nationality in such an unprecedented manner comes as the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and the rest of the UN and international organizations are stepping up their efforts to counter statelessness.”
Another protester, Sheikh Rashid Al-Omra, said: “The tribe has always been a main part of the Qatari social tissue. What they endured under Hamad’s rule was systematic and a result of them standing by his father, Sheikh Khalifa, during the coup.”
He accused the Hamad regime, through the Ministry of Interior, of violating the rights of tribe members in a number of ways: “They followed them as they headed to pray, broke into their homes and dragged them to police stations in front of their wives and children. These practices contradict basic religious rules, and Arab and social traditions.”
Saleh Al-Hamran, a former personal guard to Sheikh Khalifa, was denied re-entry to Qatar after a vacation in Kuwait in 1996, and told that his citizenship had been withdrawn.
He asked international human rights organizations for help to be reunited with his family. 
“The nationalities of 27 members of Al-Hamran family have been withdrawn for no reason,” he said. “I am ready to stand trial in Qatar before world public opinion if I am found to have committed any crime.”
Naser Al-Manee Al-Ghufrani told how he lost his job and home and was forced into exile after the withdrawal of his nationality.
“My nationality was withdrawn while I was in Abu Dhabi in 1996,” he said. “I consulted the Qatari Embassy, where I was informed of the decision. After our passports expired, were could not go anywhere. We were not able to provide treatment for our father or find jobs, to have a decent life.”
Earlier, the tribe staged a protest outside the Geneva International Conference Center as it hosted a conference attended by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Sheikh Hamad’s wife. The protesters distributed leaflets illustrating their persecution, to the irritation of Qatari regime officials inside.
They told of the tribe’s suffering and condemned the failure of Qatar’s National Committee for Human Rights to comply with the “Paris Principles” that regulate the independence of national human-rights institutions. They called upon the global community and international rights organizations to support their cause.
“This can be achieved by holding those responsible for our suffering accountable, compensating us financially and morally, in addition to protecting our children in the face of any attempt to dissuade them from claiming their rights in front of international organizations and the public,” the delegation said in its leaflet.
Sheikha Moza and her party refused to leave the building until the protesters dispersed. 
The conference was organized by Silatech, a Qatari initiative that seeks to create jobs for young Arabs. The Al-Ghufran protesters drew attention to the irony of the Qatari government helping young people find employment while denying those same rights to its own indigenous people.
 


Iraq PM wants governor sacked after boat capsize

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visits the people injured after a ferry sank in the Tigris river, at Salam hospital in Mosul, Iraq March 21, 2019. Picture taken March 21, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 min 14 sec ago
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Iraq PM wants governor sacked after boat capsize

  • Iraqi law gives the federal Parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has formally requested that Parliament sack Nineveh Governor Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan after a river ferry accident that killed at least 100 people in the provincial capital, Mosul.
The capsize of the boat, which was carrying families to a recreational spot on an island in the Tigris River on Thursday, was the most deadly incident in the northern city since it was recaptured from Daesh in a bloody and destructive conflict in 2017.
Since the militants were driven from Mosul nearly two years ago, relief has given way to impatience over alleged corruption as the reconstruction of the destroyed city has stalled.
“Due to the obvious negligence and dereliction in performing duties and responsibility, and the presence of evidence proving misuse of public funds and abuse of power ... we suggest that you dismiss the governor and his deputies,” Abdul Mahdi wrote in a letter addressed to the speaker of Parliament that was published by his office late on Friday.
Iraqi law gives the federal Parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister.
Scores of angry protesters swarmed Iraq’s president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. The crowd threw stones and shoes at Sultan’s car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital.
Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.
Iraq’s Justice Ministry said it had ordered the arrest of nine ferry company officials and banned the owners of the vessel and the picnic site from leaving the country.