Gulf States launch humanitarian hotline for mixed Qatari families
The Saudi Foreign Ministry announced a hotline for the affected families on Sunday, Saudi Arabia Arab News newspaper reports.
“The Qatari people are a genuine extension of their brothers in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Salman addresses the humanitarian cases of Saudi-Qatari joint families, the people of Qatar are in King Salman’s heart,” the statement from the ministry said.
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also followed the measure, calling upon the authorities “to take into account the humanitarian situation of the Bahraini-Qatari families in appreciation of the brotherly Qatari people who represent a natural extension of their brothers in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” Bahrain News Agency reports.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the chorus, with UAE President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan calling for “the humanitarian circumstances of Emirati-Qatari joint families” to be considered, UAE-based Gulf News newspaper reports, citing an official source.
It is not yet clear how these hotlines are intended to help the affected families.
On Friday, Amnesty International slammed Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE for ripping apart mixed families amid the crisis.
“For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear,” James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme, said.
These Gulf issues have “a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives,” he said.
“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,” Lynch added.
One Saudi man who lives in Doha with his Qatari wife told Amnesty that he cannot visit his mother, who is in a Saudi Arabian hospital. If he goes to Saudi Arabia, he will not be able to see his wife and children, he said.
“I go home, I can’t see my wife. I stay here, I can’t see my mum,” he told Amnesty.
The row between Qatar and Arab League states started earlier in June, when Gulf states including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Yemen announced the severing of diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
Qatar has called the measure a “campaign of incitement” which is “based on lies.”
The decision came just weeks after comments published by the website of Qatar’s state-run QNA news agency featured negative remarks about Saudi Arabia. Qatar, however, claims that hackers took over the media outlet’s website and published the comments, which it says were fake.
Speaking to RT on Saturday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that “an information campaign to demonize Qatar has started all of a sudden.”