Press TV – Amnesty International has expressed its deep concern over thousands of ordinary people whose lives have been played with amid escalating tensions triggered by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies against Qatar.
“Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are toying with the lives of thousands of [Persian] Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying people’s livelihoods and education,” the prominent UK-based human rights watchdog said in a statement on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. They also suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expelled its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.
They further tightened their squeeze on Qatar on Friday and released a list of 59 Qatari and Doha-based people and entities allegedly linked to “terrorism.”
The move is widely believed to have been spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which often manages to have its vassal states fall into line. Saudi Arabia itself is known as the main sponsor of the violent Wahhabi terrorists that it has accused Qatar of supporting. Some analysts believe the Saudi anger is rather because Qatar acts more independently of Riyadh, including partially in its relations with Iran.
“These drastic measures are already having a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives. People from across the region, not only from Qatar, but also from the states implementing these measures, risk losing jobs and having their education disrupted. All the states involved in this dispute must ensure their actions do not lead to human rights violations,” said James Lynch, the deputy director of Amnesty’s Global Issues Program, in the statement.
The rights group has documented many cases of people cut off from parents, children and spouses as a result.
Amnesty further lambasted authorities in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for harshly punishing their respective citizens if they question the controversial measures against Qatar.
The dispute between the Persian Gulf Arab countries is said to be an extension of a 2014 row, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Doha over what they said to be Qatar’s support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.