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Qatar’s new Active Diplomacy of Human Rights



The Madrid Journals News – The Arab gulf siege imposed on Qatar has resulted in active diplomacy. Qatar seems to face for armies of Diplomats, international relations, think-tank institutes and policy centers.  Add to this, the countries imposing the siege are paying top US and UK lobbyists in hope of steering their county’s policy against Qatar. Since the begging of the siege, Qatar’s diplomacy has been active worldwide in an attempt to resist the efforts of those countries.

The International public opinion seems to support Qatar for the simple reason that they hate Saudi Arabia and its human rights records. The Qatari diplomacy seems to employ human rights to get the support of public opinion.


Seemingly, the Diplomacy of human rights don’t come from Qatari Government, rather they are by a local human rights organization known as the Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC). This committee has been in the forefront since the beginning of the Saudi-UAE led siege.

NHRC held dozens of workshops, conferences and seminars with organizations and politicians worldwide. It has met with dozens of politicians and decision makers across the world to explain the ramifications of the siege and current human rights conditions in the country including the rights of migrant workers and the reported human rights abuses. The committee has made public statements in which it called on the Qatari Government to improve the conditions of migrant workers.

The committee which is independent in its work and projects is headed by a Qatari national named Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri. Dr. Ali Al-Marri was elected as the president of the Arab Commission for human rights at the League of Arab states in 2012. Also, he was elected as the chairperson of the Asia Pacific forum (APF) for the period 2013-2015. The Diplomacy of Al Marri made the siege of Qatar a title on various newspapers and TVs worldwide. He provides new discourse not about the Rich Qatar but the oppressed Qatar which lives in siege and human suffering.

Recently, NHRC visited the UK and held dozens of meetings with a number of UK parliamentarians including members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The meetings discussed the work of the committee and future cooperation.

Meetings were held with Tom Brake MP and Alistair Carmichael MP from the Liberal Democrats Party as well as Baroness Udin and Lord Norman Warner from the House of Lords.

The two-day visit to the UK included also meetings with members of the commons such as Chris Williamson MP, and David Wayne MP, and Grahame Morris MP, Richard Burden from the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, Tommy Sheppard MP, for the SNP Party hosted a meeting where the Qatar NHRC President, Dr. Ali  Al-Marri spoke on the achievement and work of the committee.

According to the organization, NHRC was re-organized in accordance with Decree law no. (17) for the year 2010, thereby consolidating NHRC independence as a permanent official body headquartered in the city of Doha with a separate legal personality and an independent budget; this Decree also specified the objectives and mandates of the NHRC.

At the international level, the NHRC was accredited A status by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (ICC) which is a representative body of national human rights institutions drawn from all regions of the world; the NHRC is also a member in the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) which is responsible for the  accreditation and classification of national Committees all over the world.

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Heidelberg shooting: One dead in gun attack on German students



A lone gunman has killed one person and seriously injured three others inside a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in the south-west of Germany, before shooting himself dead.

He was an 18-year-old German student.

German police said the shooter, who was armed with two guns, had used a “long gun”, and fired shots around the amphitheatre “wildly”.

The bloodshed triggered a large operation at the university’s campus in the Neuenheimer Feld area.

Police asked people to avoid the area so rescue workers and emergency services could move around freely.

German media reported that the gunman appeared to have no religious or political motive.

Police have searched his flat in the city of Mannheim, and found a WhatsApp message he had sent shortly beforehand, in which he spoke of punishing people.

Heidelberg is a university town with about 160,000 inhabitants.

The country has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe, and school shootings are rare. Anyone under 25 is required to pass a psychological evaluation before getting a gun licence.

Police initially said four victims had been wounded, with a later update confirming one had died in hospital.


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Ukraine crisis: Why Russia-US talks may prove crucial



Senior diplomats from the US and Russia are meeting in the Swiss city of Geneva for the first of a series of crunch talks aimed at defusing tension over Ukraine.

The stakes for these talks on Monday are high. But both sides hold wildly different expectations. The US and other Western powers want to dissuade Russia from invading Ukraine.

But Russia wants to talk about its maximalist demands for Nato to retreat from eastern Europe. It’s calling for Nato to pull its forces out of former Soviet countries, end any eastern expansion and rule out Ukraine joining the alliance.

Some US officials fear these demands are deliberately unrealistic, designed to be rejected and used as a pretext for military action. Other diplomats believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is aiming high to squeeze concessions out of a Western alliance that is willing to give ground to avoid war.

They say the Russian president is effectively demanding an end to Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture and the establishment of a Russian “sphere of influence”.

A high price

Given this, the US and Nato have dismissed most of Russia’s demands as “non-starters”. And the US has categorically denied reports it is considering possible troop reductions.

But American officials have said they are willing to look at curbs on military exercises and missile deployments.

One idea is a partial revival of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that the US abandoned in 2019 after Russia was accused of breaching its provisions. Other ideas are more measures to build confidence and greater transparency between Russia and the US.

The fear among some European allies is that even this would be too much of a reward for Russia, too high a price for trying to avoid conflict in Ukraine.

They fear the US might be willing to concede too much so it can focus more on China and domestic challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the economy.

The US is aware of these fears and repeatedly insists it will not agree anything about Ukraine or European security without those countries involved.

Either way, President Putin has already made some gains, winning a platform this week to air his grievances and force the US and Europe to engage with his agenda of Nato reform.

Both sides are playing down expectations of an immediate deal. But that does not mean this week’s talks are not important.

A crucial staging post

At best, the talks could shed more light on Mr Putin’s intentions and reveal if he is serious about engaging in diplomacy.

At worst, a breakdown could lead to war, allowing Mr Putin to claim to his domestic audience that the West was not willing to talk and agree to his demands, and he was thus forced to act to ensure Russia’s security.

Western diplomats say they are ready for what they see as this false narrative: hence the Nato Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, insisting the alliance is ready for any Russian military action, and the firm warnings from the US and Europe that any invasion would be met with massive economic sanctions.

So, this week’s talks could prove a crucial diplomatic staging post, with the fate of Ukraine and Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture in the balance.


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Russia fines Google over illegal content breach



bbc– A Moscow court has fined Google 7.2bn roubles ($98m; £73m) for repeated failure to delete content deemed illegal in Russia.

Details of the offending content were not specified in the announcement by the court’s press service.

This is the first time in Russia that a technology giant has been hit with a fine based on their annual turnover.

Google told AFP news agency that it would study the court ruling before deciding on further steps.

Russian authorities have increased pressure on tech firms this year, accusing them of not moderating their content properly, and interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Hours after the Google verdict was announced, a 2bn rouble fine was handed to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, for similar content-related offences.

Earlier this week, Twitter was also handed a 3m rouble fine for similar charges.

This is not Google’s first brush with Russian authorities over content laws. In May, Russia’s media watchdog threatened to slow down the speed of Google if it failed to delete 26,000 instances of unlawful content, which it said related to drugs, violence and extremism.

President Vladimir Putin has pushed for development of a so-called sovereign internet, which would give the government more control over what its citizens can access.

Critics have accused Russia of using the campaign to clamp down on free speech and online dissent.

The country’s media regulator has blocked dozens of websites linked to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose campaign groups have been labelled “extremist”.

Google and Apple were also forced to remove an app dedicated to Navalny’s “Smart Voting” campaign, which gave users advice on tactical voting to unseat Kremlin-aligned politicians.

Websites like LinkedIn and Dailymotion have already been blocked for refusing to co-operate with authorities, and six major providers of Virtual Personal Networks (VPNs) – which help users to conceal their online activities – have been banned.

Earlier this year, Russia also introduced a new law requiring all new smartphones, computers and smart devices sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian-made software and apps.

The government said the move would help Russian tech firms compete with foreign rivals.

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