A delegation from the al-Ghufran tribe organized Monday an exhibition in the Broken Chair courtyard, exhibiting the human rights violations committed by the Qatari regime against them. Created by Daniel Berset, the Broken Chair symbolizes the struggles of mine victims.
After a treaty (known as the Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty) to ban the use of anti-personnel mines was signed and came into action in 1997, Handicap International NGO commissioned the Swiss artist to create a piece of art that would draw attention to the victims of landmines to encourage nations to sign on to the treaty and stop using them.
According to a statement released on Monday, al-Ghufran’s exhibition comes as part of a wider move by the tribe to reclaim its rights on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, shedding light on the human rights violations committed against the tribe by the Qatari regime.
“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against al-Ghufran tribe by the Qatari regime, said Mohamed Saleh al-Ghafzani, one of the members of the oppressed tribe who participated in the exhibition.
He added that the international community needs to document and declare all violations committed against the tribe; violations, which, according to him, break all international norms, treaties and conventions.
Al-Ghafzani added that the delegation in Geneva is trying to communicate with the international community and make its voices heard worldwide, efforts that they are doing through exhibitions, meeting officials, holding seminars, press conferences, and so on, adding that they will not stop until they have their rights back.
Gaber al-Areq al-Ghufrani added that they are trying through the exhibition to reach everyone involved, from advocates to the appropriate authorities, stating that they attempt to talk to everyone that goes into the sessions. “We are talking to everyone who comes in and out of the United Nations building about our crisis and our stolen rights; after taking our nationality away, there is nothing else we can lose.”
Al-Ghufran clan stage protest in Geneva against Qatar regime discrimination
Call for decisive action
The members of the tribe demand that the international community take a decisive stand against the Qatari regime, which violated international covenants and norms, through its discriminatory policies against the al-Ghufran tribe.
On September 17, delegation had met with Chief of Middle East and North Africa Section. UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad al-Nsour, when the latter received a letter from the tribe summing up the violations that they have faced since 1996.
The letter asked the UN office to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous, systematic discrimination against them, and to protect the tribe’s members, restore their lost rights and to punish the Qatari regime for human rights violations.
The letter also revealed that the authorities are well aware of the violations occurring: “We assure you that the Qatari authorities, ranging from the Emir of Qatar, the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the President of the National Committee for Human Rights, senior security officials and dignitaries, are aware of the discrimination members of Al Ghofran clan are subjected to and those senior officials are deeply involved in this crime,” the delegation stated.
“Qatar officials are working to hide his crime from the eyes of international justice and human rights organizations, and the deliberately intimidate those trying from within Qatar to raise complaints to International bodies and human rights organizations,” it said.
Fearing for their lives and their ability to voice their opinions or “demand their rights through the National Human Rights Committee in Doha” due to security personnel tracking and monitoring their actions, which they say they have evidence off, the delegation spoke of the evidence they have of Qatari authorities treating their people with the utmost levels of brutality and monstrosity.
As part of their on-going efforts to restore their legitimate rights, on September 21, during a seminar titled ‘Human Rights in Qatar’, the delegation also called on Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to take serious steps in addressing and documenting the human rights violations that were committed against the tribe, and to present them in front of the international community to hold Qatar accountable.
The delegation explained that they only resorted to international organizations after years of being ignored and omitted by their government, the government of Qatar, and after they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council is in cahoots with the regime.
One of the members of the al-Ghufran branch of Al-Marri tribe speaks during a panel urging UN attention to his family’s case in Geneva. (Supplied)
During said seminar, Gaber Saleh al-Ghufrani, a member of the al-Ghufran tribe, called on the people of Qatar, for support said, “We call on the elders of the honorable al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the al-Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry. We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin after the Qatari government has let us down and accused us of untrue claims and stropped us of our rights.”
He went on to plead his and his tribe’s case to the people of Qatar, “We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways, ones that would shock human consciousness; they have stripped us of our dignity, in way that you know and others that you do not know.”
“We did not choose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations except after the government of our country closed all ways of appeal and did not engage or listen to our demands that we had submitted to the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Commission of Qatar,” he said.
Along the same lines, Mohamed Saleh al-Ghofzani called on the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar to stop turning a blind eye to the regime’s violations of the right of al-Ghufran tribe and to document and declare said violations; which he describes to be, violations of all basic international norms, conventions and treaties.
Similarly, Hamad Khaled al-Ghufrani explained that although the Qatari law states that indigenous people who have settled in Qatar since 1940 cannot have their nationality stripped—a law that applies to them, they have had their nationality stripped, faced forced displacement and have had the most basic services taken away from them: Education, healthcare and other public services.
“Even those who suffer from chronic illnesses of other illnesses, including my son who suffers from autism, were left untreated by Qatar,” Al Ghufrani stated.
The OHCHR, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “carries out a range of country specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. It provides support for legislative initiatives and pursues thematic work on issues such as extractive industries and on the rights of isolated indigenous peoples,” as per the OHCHR’s website.
“In addition, the Office assists the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and provides secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the organization of its annual sessions.”
A seminar titled, ‘Human Rights in Qatar: The Tragic tale of the Al-Ghufran Tribe’ was held.
Exhibiting their case to the world
On September 19, al-Ghufran, staged a sit-in front of the Broken Chair, which stands across the United Nations Palace in Geneva, to denounce the crimes of the Qatari regime who has revoked their nationality, displaced and tortured members of the tribe.
The tribe called on the international community to take a decisive stand on the Tamim regime, whom, they claim, have violated a number of international conventions and treaties through its racist policy against the al-Ghufran tribe.
The delegation also held a protest on September 18, to urge the United Nations to investigate the Qatar regimes’ crimes against humanity, including stripping them of Qatari nationality.
“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountable for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights,” Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, a member of the tribe, who took part in the stand, stated.SHOW MORE