Saturday, June 17, 2017

Inside Story - What's the Human Cost of the Gulf Row with Qatar?

"A violation of freedom of expression," - that's what Human Rights Watch has called the crackdown by three Gulf countries against people who criticise them on social media.

Bahrain has jailed one of its citizens for comments made on social media after it passed a controversial law criminalising sympathy with Qatar, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE have threatened similar punishments as the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf worsens.

Together with Egypt, the four countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, sea, and air blockade.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee says since then, more than 13,000 citizens from the three Gulf countries living in Qatar have been affected, with the rights group receiving 155 complaints from mixed families separated by the travel ban.

The committee also says it's received reports of at least 764 human rights violations.

So what's the human cost of the blockade against Qatar? And what will be the long-term impact?

Presenter: Jane Dutton | Guests: Saeed Al-Shehabi - Bahraini activist and leader of the Bahrain Free Movement; Khalil Jahshan - Executive director of the Arab Center of Washington; Saad Djebbar - International lawyer.