UAE rejects Qatar’s accusation of ‘racial discrimination’

UAE rejects Qatar’s accusation of ‘racial discrimination’
The UAE strongly rejected allegations of ‘racial discrimination’ made by Qatar to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva. (File/Reuters)
Updated 04 May 2019

UAE rejects Qatar’s accusation of ‘racial discrimination’

UAE rejects Qatar’s accusation of ‘racial discrimination’
  • The statement was delivered in response to Doha's accusation that the UAE broke the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Qatar is simultaneously filing a similar complaint with the International Court of Justice

DUBAI: The UAE strongly refuted allegations of ‘racial discrimination’ made by Qatar, a statement by the UAE declared on the state run news agency.
Both sides presented their arguments to a special session of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva, with the UAE issuing a strongly-worded statement against Qatari accusations, which it says “have no legal basis”.
The statement was delivered in response to Doha’s accusation that the UAE broke the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). 
“Doha’s complaint before the committee is part of a malicious Qatari campaign based on falsehoods and aimed at distracting attention from the dire consequences of Qatar’s state-sponsored terrorism,” the statement added.
Abdullah Hamdan Al-Naqbi, director of the International Law Department at the Foreign Ministry and International Co-operation, and the UAE’s committee representative, said that the complaint should not have been lodged in the first place as it had no connection to any form of racial discrimination. 
He said it was yet another Qatari attempt to politicize the committee.
“The UAE measures regarding the Qatari citizens are compliant with the international law and cannot be classified under any forms of racial segregation combatted 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 UAE can never be accused of violating the agreement in any way,” Al-Naqbi said
Qatar is simultaneously filing a similar complaint with the International Court of Justice, and the UAE is urging the committee to consider Qatar’s two accusations as an abuse of the complaint system.
The UAE statement that was presented on Friday further outlined the UAE’s measures to facilitate the entry of Qatari nationals to the UAE in spite of Qatar’s destructive policies and promotion of extremism in the region.
“When it severed its relations with Qatar in 2017, the UAE took a series of measures in compliance with international law and in response to Doha’s refusal to honor its international obligations. These measures were not meant to target the people of Qatar.
“The UAE has instituted a requirement for all Qatari citizens overseas to obtain prior permission for entry into the UAE. Qatari citizens already resident in the UAE need not apply for permission to continue residence in the UAE. However, all Qatari citizens resident in the UAE are encouraged to obtain prior permission for re-entry into UAE territory. All applications for entry clearance may be made for free online or through a telephone hotline announced in June 2017,” the statement read.
It added that requiring prior permission to enter a country is a standard global practice. 
“It cannot be labelled as racial discrimination. Neither does it violate the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
“By overstepping the Committee’s mandate and unilaterally lodging a simultaneous complaint with the International Court of Justice, Qatar simply proves that it has no effective response to the compelling arguments of the UAE,” the statement said.
It concluded that “Qatar’s malicious campaigns are meant to inflict damage on the Boycotting Quartet. Instead, Doha should have reconsidered its support for terrorism and extremism,” the UAE representative concluded, expressing the UAE’s belief that “Qatar’s tendency to lodge complaints further undermines its reputation and will backfire.”