Chairman of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the European Parliament (EP), Pier Antonio Panzeri, has affirmed that Qatar has become a reference for human rights, praising its hosting of the “International Conference on National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability under International Law.”
He added that this conference opens a new chapter in strengthening the rule of law at the level of the international community.
Speaking at a press conference, Panzeri lauded the Qatari initiative to host this conference, saying that Qatar is on the right track of reform in a number of areas, and the country can be considered as a reference for human rights and this conference is the best indication that it is on the right track.
During the conference, he thanked Qatar for taking this initiative by hosting the conference on issues related to impunity and accountability, praising the concrete co-operation of the National Human Rights Committee, headed by HE the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, with the European Parliament and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights.
He described Qatar’s hosting of the conference as a good start for the future course of action.
“It is a project led by Qatar at the international level, and it is a very important one and these are commendable efforts”, he said, expecting that it would succeed in the future.
The success of the conference, he said, will open a new path in endeavours to combat impunity.
“By opening new horizons at this enormous international level, we seek to combat impunity and promote accountability”, he said.
Panzeri stressed that Qatar has started a positive path, especially after a number of developments and events faced under the unjust blockade imposed on it, pointing out that the country seeks to shed light on this issue at the international level.
He recalled that when the Human Rights Sub-Commission of the European Parliament and the National Human Rights Committee initiated co-operation almost a year ago, they signed a protocol of co-operation and this conference was organised as a result of that.
He stressed the need for a large-scale body to combat impunity and to co-operate with existing institutions and serve as a monitoring and follow-up mechanism to help achieve the desired goals.
The chairman of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the European Parliament pointed out that during the two-day conference, a number of key points were highlighted, including the need for a large-scale action in the fight against impunity, and that many countries are required to do so.
“There is an urgent need to support the accountability mechanism if we want to continue to fight impunity in cases of gross human rights violations”, he said.
He pointed out that the conference also addressed the need to recognise the importance of enhancing accountability, especially with regard to cases of some violations and some crimes where impunity exists, stressing the importance of working to activate existing mechanisms at the local, regional and international levels, and the integration of these mechanisms because each supports the other.
Responding to a question about the position of the European Parliament’s Human Rights Sub-Committee towards a number of Qatari nationals detained in Saudi prisons without trial, and how the international parliament could pressure Riyadh to release them, Pier Antonio Panzeri said: “The parliament has done a lot, as a resolution related to human rights issues in Saudi Arabia has recently been approved, and has raised the issue and the need to release of those behind bars, not only them but also women who were imprisoned for taking part in demonstrations or for wanting to drive a car”.
On the mechanisms that were discussed during the conference and how to activate them, he explained that during the conference two tracks were identified, the first emphasised the importance of recognising that there are existing mechanisms and that they do not start from scratch, especially since there are many who object to these mechanisms or seek to disapply them if they are incompatible with them, he said, calling on all countries to abide by these mechanisms.
Under to the second track, international law should not be considered the only reference, as there is a need for pressure from the local public opinion within these countries, indicating that the European Parliament is working on these mechanisms, which need to be activated.
On the solution of the Gulf crisis, he pointed out that the crisis can be solved in two ways: first, to draw a framework for balance and stability that allows an end to the conflict, and second, to find a way to resolve the crisis that is not related only to the region.
On the role of the European Parliament Sub-Committee on Human Rights in stopping the EU governments from selling arms to Saudi Arabia and following up the human rights file and releasing the detainees there, Panzeri said that they had ratified a resolution under which they called on countries at the European level not to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and it had been approved, stressing that this is a very important.
He added that they cannot save the world, but they can make recommendations, continue demanding in a sustained manner and maintain their rightful positions, hoping that these efforts would lead to positive results to mobilise public opinion to press their governments to achieve the desired goals.
He stressed, at the same time, the importance of maintaining relations between States to promote respect for human rights and combat impunity.
Regarding the president of the European Parliament’s call on the European countries to intervene to resolve the conflict in Libya, he stressed the importance of avoiding the repetition of the Syrian scenario in Libya, indicating that there is a very complicated situation in Libya, while stressing the importance of recognising that there are differences within the European Union itself, with regard to the Libyan issue, and these efforts should lead to a transition process towards democracy and peace.
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