Qatar has filed a case against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the UN’s highest court, accusing Abu Dhabi of human rights violations amid a year-long boycott of Doha by a Saudi-led bloc of four Arab nations.
The case, lodged before the Hague-based International Court of Justice on Monday, accused Abu Dhabi of “discrimination against Qatar and Qatari citizens,” basing the claim on the UAE’s decision to expel Qatari citizens, block Doha from accessing its airspace and other issues that stemmed from the ongoing diplomatic dispute.
“As set forth in detail in Qatar’s application to the International Court, the UAE led these actions, which have had a devastating effect on the human rights of Qataris and residents of Qatar,” the Qatari government said in a statement.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) also revealed that UAE officials had participated in a full-scale online media campaign against Qatar and Qataris, directly inciting hatred against the Persian Gulf country.
“The UAE deliberately discriminated against Qataris on the basis of their nationality, resulting in serious human rights abuses,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
“Today’s application is the first step in bringing an end to these violations and to restoring the basic rights of the many Qataris harmed by the UAE’s actions,” he added.
The Qatari government called on the Hague-based court to have the UAE make reparations, including compensation, but declined to provide further details on the amount it might be seeking.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash dismissed the Qatari claims in a post on Twitter as “lies.”
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, in a scheme generally believed to have been orchestrated by Riyadh. The four countries accused Qatar of sponsoring “terrorism” and destabilizing the region, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
Several African countries have also broken ties with Qatar in support for the Saudi-led quartet.
The Qatari foreign minister accuses Saudi Arabia of creating disturbance in the Persian Gulf.
The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply or face consequences.
Qatar, however, refused to yield and denounced the demands as unreasonable, saying the pressure was aimed at stripping it of its sovereignty.
As rifts among Qatar and other Saudi-led group of Persian Gulf states widened, on June 3 Doha warned that “any third party” call on the US and Israel to go to war with Iran was “dangerous,” stressing that Doha would never be part of such a confrontation.
Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah told an international security conference in Singapore on Sunday that his country has “a lot of differences” with Iran, but it does not mean “we go and fuel a war.”
“Is it wise to call the United States and to call Israel to go and fight Iran? … Whether any third party is trying to push the region or some country in the region to start a war in Iran, this will be very dangerous,” he said, apparently referring to Saudi Arabia.
The minister did not name any party but he could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, which has also led a blockade of Qatar with its Persian Gulf allies since June last year.