Calls intensify to ease curbs on Qatari nationals going for Haj pilgrimage
Ever since the illegal siege of Qatar began on June 5, the country has been subjected to a number of injustices by the four blockading nations.
While the air, sea and land routes to Qatar were largely cut off, Hajj pilgrims from the country were also subjected to a lot of discrimination. Things became so bad that Qatar had to ask Saudi Arabia to not politicise the holy rite.
Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) chairman Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri yesterday renewed the call to Saudi authorities to ease restrictions on Qatari Haj pilgrims, reported Gulf Times.
He said this had to be done as soon as possible as this constitutes a clear violation of the rights to religious practice.
“Only a few days remain for pilgrims from Qatar to perform Haj and things aren’t clear due to Saudi’s unclear stand on this. Only eight days are left for Haj registration by land and the deadline for Haj by air is set for August 26.
“The Saudi authorities haven’t given until now any real assurance for the safety and well being of Qatari pilgrims. NHRC also received complaints from Haj companies regarding hardships and difficulties in organising trips from Qatar,” he said.
Meanwhile, several international human rights bodies including the Swiss Organization for the Protection of Human Rights, have expressed their concern over Saudi Arabia's plan to impose constraints on Qatari citizens wishing to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, reported Qatar Tribune.
“Saudi Arabia, by taking such arbitrary measures, which aren’t based on any moral or legal basis, prevents innocent people who have nothing to do with all these political differences from performing their religious rituals, which is in violation of international law,” the groups said in a statement.
The statement was also signed by Association of Victims of Torture in Tunisia Geneva, The International Observatory of Associations and Sustainable Development, and Free Voice for human rights - Paris.
“The organisations noted that Saudi Arabia has imposed special restrictions on Qatari nationals wishing to perform Hajj this year. This is a clear violation of the human right to practice religious rites as stated in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all relevant conventions,” the joint statement said.