05 July 2017

Lalive signs deal with Qataris to head up claims against sanctions

Doha: Citizens sue over sanctions

The Swiss firm will analyse claims from citizens impacted by the blockade.

Swiss law firm Lalive is to investigate thousands of cases from citizens and foreign residents of Qatar who have been impacted by the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar. The law firm has signed an agreement with the Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) permitting the law firm to seek compensation for some 2450 citizens and foreign residents of Qatar. Dr Ali bin Sumaikh Al Marri, Chairman of QNHRC, said that cases received by the QNHRC have been transferred to the international law firm to analyse how to proceed. 

'Too far'

Dr Veijo Heiskanen from Lalive told Al Jazeera that the sanctions imposed on Qatar 'go too far and are not in accordance with international law.' He said ordinary Qatari nationals and companies were not part of the state and should not be targeted. 'A political dispute between States does not justify sanctions against private citizens, companies and other private entities. The Qatar National Committee for Human Rights is, therefore, justified to pursue these claims,' he added. Mr Heiskanen said Lalive will be working closely with the QNHRC to determine the right course of action with respect to the claims already submitted and those to come.

Foreign policy

The dispute arose when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and implemented a blockade in a bid to bring Doha in line with its neighbours' foreign policy.The embargo has blocked air and land traffic and movement of people and goods from Doha to other Gulf capitals, as well as severing commercial and financial relations between Qatar and the three Gulf countries. More than 1000 Gulf students attending Qatar universities were forced to quit their studies and repatriate immediately whilst Qatar students were expelled from universities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE, the NHRC said. A 13-point list of demands, including Qatar shutting down the Al Jazeera Media Network, violated human rights, the QNHRC claimed.