And partnership with Britain will be key, says the state’s ambassador to the UK.

A year ago today, we the people of Qatar woke to find that we, and our country, were under blockade. With no warning, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain announced they were shutting our only land border and halting land, sea and air traffic between us.

Even more painful was the decision, in a flagrant breach of human rights, to eject thousands of our citizens from their lands while demanding their own leave Qatar to return home. It tore families apart, disrupted professional and academic careers and, in some cases, led to the sick being denied medical care.

Publicly, in an attempt to justify their illegal moves, the blockading countries claimed they wanted Qatar to “stop supporting terrorism”. These allegations were, and are, completely baseless. Qatar has never supported terrorism. We are, instead, a regional leader in the international coalition’s fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda with air strikes launching daily from our Al-Udeid air base.

One year later, the private and real purpose of the blockade has been revealed – to take over Qatar. Hoping to strip my country of its sovereignty and independence, the blockading states launched a premeditated campaign of cyber-attacks, bribery, coercion, and market manipulation to put our country firmly under the control of its larger neighbours and effectively turn it into a vassal state.

These tactics have failed. The blockade has, of course, caused real harm and pain to Qatari citizens, which is felt all the more keenly during the holy month of Ramadan. This is usually a time when families traditionally celebrate together. Thanks to the blockade, many remain seperated from loved ones.

But the illegal attacks against Qatar have also pulled our country closer together and encouraged us to look firmly to the future. The blockade has, in fact, proved to be an unlikely catalyst for economic, social and political reform.

Unshackled from the blockading states and their closed policies, Qatar is no longer held back from pushing forward with other long-planned reforms. Working with the International Labour Organisation, we have introduced new laws that provide greater protection and freedom to our expat community. These measures have been praised by organisations such as Amnesty International and the International Trade Union Confederation.

We are also pressing ahead with democratic reforms to our political system. Our Advisory Council, an important legislative body that is currently …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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Qatar will survive and thrive despite the blockade

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