The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday dismissed a case brought by Qatar against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for racial discrimination.
The UAE filed a preliminary objection for lack of jurisdiction in response to the case brought by Qatar. Qatar had claimed “indirect discrimination” and that the measures adopted by the UAE including travel ban and expulsion order for Qatari nationals were violative of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It claimed that current nationality is part of “national origin” mentioned in Article 1 of the Convention. However, the court refused this claim on the ground that the Convention does not prohibit the States to make restrictions for non-citizens.
The judgement of the court states:
Paragraph 2 provides that any “distinctions, exclusions, restrictions, or preferences” between citizens and non-citizens do not fall within the scope of the Convention. In the Court’s view, such express exclusion from the scope of the Convention of differentiation between citizens and non-citizens indicates that the Convention does not prevent State parties from adopting measures that restrict the right of non-citizens to enter a State and their right to reside there- rights that are in dispute in this case- on the basis of their current nationality.
The UAE had imposed these bans in light of Qatar’s violation of agreements and its support towards terrorist organizations. In this regard, the court pointed out that, “declarations criticizing a State or its policies cannot be characterized as racial discrimination within the meaning of CERD.” The ICJ thus dismissed the case due to a lack of appropriate jurisdiction.