Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia conclude ‘discrimination’ conciliation

An ad hoc UN commission created to resolve a diplomatic conflict between Gulf countries concluded its work.

 U.S. Delegation Presents Report to CERD (photo credit: FLICKR)
U.S. Delegation Presents Report to CERD
(photo credit: FLICKR)

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) established the Conciliation Commission, an ad hoc body to resolve a diplomatic crisis between Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In January, Qatar and the UAE concluded their conciliation proceedings, the UN reported on Thursday.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cited cut economic and diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2017. The Gulf countries cited Qatar's alleged support for terrorism

In 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of “financing, adopting and sheltering extremists” and of supporting various Islamist groups including Iranian-backed extremist organizations. 

In response, in March of 2018, Qatar filed complaints against both Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Saudi to the CERD, the UN writes. The complaints alleged unfair discrimination. UN news explains that Qatar protested that the sanctions they were slapped with, which included a blockade, were targeting Qatari citizens based on nationality and were without merit.

 In February 2020, a pair of ad hoc Conciliation Commissions were appointed to consider the complaints, one focusing on the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the other focusing on the dispute between Qatar and the UAE.

 Gulf Cooperation Council GCC flags flying high (credit: FLICKR) Gulf Cooperation Council GCC flags flying high (credit: FLICKR)

The ad hoc commission involving Saudi Arabia ended last year. The commission involving the UAE was the one to finish last month.

While the UN has not, as of yet, been specific on the nature of the agreements the involved countries have come to, apparently, the issue has been settled amicably.

The Chair of CERD, Verene Shepherd, said, “I hope that the consensus found by Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to discontinue the proceedings is the result of a genuine dialogue between the parties to end the dispute which arose in 2018 concerning allegations of racial discrimination.”

In February of last year, CERD announced its involvement in a dispute between Israel and Palestine over issues of racial discrimination allegations. The case is ongoing.