Voicing alarm over the possible impact on the rights of people in the wake of decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, the top United Nations human rights official called on all States involved to urgently resolving the dispute. It is becoming clear that the measures being adopted are overly broad in scope and implementation, and 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, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement issued by his Office (OHCHR).
“I urge all States involved to solve this dispute as quickly as possible through dialogue, to refrain from any actions that could affect the well-being, health, employment and integrity of their inhabitants, and to respect their obligations under international human rights law.”
The High Commissioner noted that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have issued directives to address the humanitarian needs of families with joint nationalities, but added that such measures appear not to be sufficiently effective to address all cases. He added that OHCHR has been receiving reports that specific individuals have already been summarily instructed to leave the country they are residing in, or have been ordered to return home by their own Government.
“Among those likely to be badly affected are couples in mixed marriages, and their children; people with jobs or businesses based in States other than that of their nationality; and students studying in another country,” he pointed out.
He also expressed concern over reports that that the UAE and Bahrain are threatening to jail and fine people who express sympathy for Qatar or opposition to actions of their own governments, noting that such actions “would appear to be a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression or opinion.”
In another release, UN report remarked that closing gender gap at work could bring numerous benefits. Closing gender gap at work can open doors to benefits for society and the economy, according to a new report released by a UN agency. “Reducing gender disparities at workplaces by 25 percent by 2025 could inject nearly 5.8 trillion U.S. dollars into the global economy and boost tax revenues,” the UN International Labor Organization (ILO) said in the report. Women already have significantly lower participation in the labor market, but finding work for them remains more difficult than their male counterparts, the report said. “Helping women access the labor market is nevertheless an important first step,” the ILO said in a news release introducing the report. According to the UN body, the global labor force participation rate for women in 2017 is projected to be around 49 percent, nearly 27 percentage points lower than that of men. This figure is expected to remain unchanged in 2018. The report also emphasized the need to promote equal pay for work of equal value, tackle root causes of occupational segregation, and eliminate violence and harassment at work.