Call to declare blockade as crime against humanity

Call to declare blockade as crime against humanity

By QLNews

The two-day International Conference on National, Regional, and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability, which was opened by His Excellency the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday, has drawn attention to ‘blockades’ as crimes against humanity.

Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) with the support of the European Parliament, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, has organized the conference, which is the world’s largest conference on the prevention of impunity in the Middle East, reported The Peninsula.

The conference has gathered more than 250 representatives of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, specialists, researchers, experts in international commissions of inquiry, and members of some regional human rights mechanisms, among others.

Focused on impunity prevention, the conference demands for accountability for violations against human rights.

Other issues that will come under focus at the conference include: investigation and prosecution, the right of victims to redress in accordance with the fundamental principles and guidelines of the international law, the right to know and to justice, compensation and guarantees for non-repetition, good practices and lessons learned, and practical proposals to combat impunity.

NHRC Chairman, Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri yesterday called for blockades and terrorism to be included as crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of the year 1998, by amending the article 121 of its statute.

“The scale of violations at the beginning of this century has no parallel in the human history. Occupation, terrorism, blockades, and the targeting of civilians are the best proof of the breakdown of values and principles, which requires us to adopt an approach that takes into account that leaving the perpetrators of these violations without being accountable, threatens international peace and security,” Dr Al Marri is quoted to have said by Gulf Times.

The NHRC chairman also suggested the establishment of an international center for prevention, accountability and impunity.

“The aim is to conduct studies, offer advice, support intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and supporting countries in developing legislation and mechanisms,” he said adding, “We propose that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Parliament be permanent and key members in this mechanism.”

Dr Al Marri further proposed the establishment of a working group under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit an assessment study on national, regional and international mechanisms dedicated to combat impunity with an ambition to develop relevant legislation and mechanisms.

“We also propose the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish a special rapporteur on combating impunity and to call on the European Parliament to make further decisions in the area of accountability and combating impunity, as one of the important pillars of the partnership relations between the European Union and the countries of the world,” he continued.

The NHRC chief underlined that impunity inevitably leads to further abuses and tragedies, resulting in individuals’ loss of confidence in the international human rights system.

The official highlighted that the conference is the first of its kind in the region that mirrors the commitment of Qatar’s wise leadership to establish a human rights system to support victims of these violations, according to Qatar Tribune.

He further mentioned that realizing justice and punishing perpetrators of human rights crimes is a collective responsibility of the international community, including all countries, international and regional organizations and civil society institutions.

“Through co-operation and co-ordination on the collection and documentation of evidence, and conducting investigations as well as undertaking measures essential to respect the principle of no impunity,” Al Marri said.

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Cover Image Credit: The Peninsula 
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