[JURIST] Foreign ministers from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates stated on Sunday that the four nations are open to dialogue with Qatar regarding the 13 demands [AP, materials] imposed against the Gulf state early last month. The demands against Qatar were prompted [Reuters report] by allegations that Qatar condones and funds terrorist activity. During a joint news conference held in Manama, Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, called on Qatar to “announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and respond to the 13 demands.” Qatar responded, however, by accusing the four nations of violating international law by enforcing their recent sanctions. The Saudi countries are expected to continue enforcing sanctions and restrict travel to Qatar until Qatar has changed their policies to meet their demands.
While these four Arab countries have called on Qatar to clean up its act, they have also received criticism recently. Earlier in June, Amnesty International accused [JURIST report] Bahrain of moving toward a total suppression of human rights after a major political party in opposition to the government was dissolved. In May, Saudi Arabia was
accused [JURIST report] of violating human rights for demolishing a culturally significant neighborhood. Earlier in May, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, said [JURIST report] that Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorism laws are too broad and post a threat to individual rights. In March, Bahrain’s upper house of parliament approved [JURIST report] a constitutional amendment that would allow military trials for civilians accused of being involved in terrorism plots. In July 2016, Amnesty International reported [JURIST report] that hundreds of Egyptians had been abducted and tortured by Egypt’s National Security Agency during a crackdown on political activists and protesters.