"Overly broad" measures against Qatar impacting human rights: Zeid

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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations, High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Some measures being taken by countries involved in an on-going dispute with Qatar are "overly broad" and may run counter to international human rights law.

That warning comes from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who said he was alarmed about the impact of the action already taking place against the Gulf country.

More details from Ana Carmo.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain have cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, accusing the emirate of supporting terrorism, which the Qataris categorically deny.

The move has resulted in land borders and airspace being closed for the past week, and led to news reports of mixed-nationality families being threatened with separation, and jobs and school places being lost.

High Commissioner Zeid said in statement that the measures "have the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of thousands of women, children and men, simply because they belong to one of the nationalities involved in the dispute". 

He added that although Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have issued directives to address humanitarian needs of families of joint nationality, "it appears they are "not sufficiently effective to address all cases".

He added that he was "extremely troubled" by reports that the UAE and Bahrain are threatening to jail and fine those expressing sympathy with Qatar, as it would be a "clear violation of the right to freedom of expression or opinion".

The UN human rights chief urged all the states involved to solve the dispute as quickly as possible through dialogue and respect their obligations under international law.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 1'10"

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