*CERD to study human rights violations by blockading countries
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Thursday issued two decisions dismissing objections submitted by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in relation to the jurisdiction of the committee and the admissibility of the inter-state communications submitted by Qatar against the two Gulf countries.
CERD is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by its State parties.
Both work under the Office of the High Commissioner United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR).
Following a series of written submissions and oral hearings that took place in Geneva in May 2018, the committee found the objections of Saudi Arabia and the UAE unconvincing.
As a result, the committee said it "rejects the exceptions raised" by the respondent states "concerning the admissibility" of the inter-state communications.
The committee will proceed to the next stage of the process and establish two ad hoc Conciliation Commissions charged with examining the merits of the cases.
The commissions will make their "good offices available to the states concerned with a view to (reaching) an amicable solution of the matter on the basis of respect for the convention."
Qatar's agent before the International Court of Justice and Dean of the College of Law at Qatar University, Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz al- Khulaifi, welcomed the committee's decision.
He said: "We are very pleased that the committee decided to move forward and examine the merits of the inter-state communications submitted by the State of Qatar.
"Today marks a new era in the role of human rights treaty bodies in the resolution of inter-state communications."
On March 8 , 2018, Qatar submitted inter-state communications against Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the committee pursuant to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Qatar and the respondent states are parties.
Qatar's communications arise from the discriminatory measures imposed on June 5, 2017 by Saudi Arabia and the UAE , who imposed an unlawful land, sea and air blockade against it as part of a campaign of political and economic coercion.
Qatar decided to initiate the above proceedings as it firmly believes that human rights violations arising from measures initiated by Saudi Arabia and the UAE against Qatar and Qatari nationals fall within the committee's prohibition of racial discrimination.
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