Qatar takes stand-off with UAE to ICJ

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Reuters

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Qatar on Wednesday launched an urgent case before the UN’s highest court against United Arab Emirates, accusing it of human rights violations after its Gulf neighbours cut all ties with Doha last year.

During a three-day hearing at the International Court of Justice, judges heard arguments by Doha’s lawyers, with the UAE set to respond yesterday. Both will talk on Friday.

The case comes a year after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran. Doha denies the allegations.

Qatar, a small peninsula nation, found its only land border closed, its state-owned airline barred from using its neighbours’ airspace, and Qatari residents expelled from the boycotting countries.

It filed its case before the body based in The Hague earlier this month, saying the “UAE… implemented a series of discriminatory measures directed at Qataris based on their national origin,” resulting in alleged human rights violations.

It asked the court — which rules in disputes between countries — to urgently order the UAE to “cease and desist from all conduct that could result… in any form of racial discrimination against Qatari individuals and entities”.

Doha based its claim on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, one of the first global human rights treaties to be adopted.

Both Qatar and the UAE are signatories of the convention.

Diplomatic efforts have so far proved fruitless in what was previously one of the most stable regions in the Arab world.

Qatar said the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy.

Doha demanded “full reparation, including compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the UAE’s actions in violation of the CERD,” it said in papers before the court.

The UAE in return said the “onus is on Qatar if it really wanted to come out of its isolation”.

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