Profile of a Qatari‏ ‏‎ woman uprooted and stripped of her rights at the age of five ‎



Sun, 23 Sep 2018 - 03:24 GMT


Sun, 23 Sep 2018 - 03:24 GMT

Khaznah Bent Mohammed Al-Marri the daughter ‎of Al-Ghufran tribe- Khazna's photo via Egypt Today

Khaznah Bent Mohammed Al-Marri the daughter ‎of Al-Ghufran tribe- Khazna's photo via Egypt Today

“My message to the world is to look at Al-Ghufran’s tribe kids, at the women, at elders, at the ‎people with special needs and to support them attain their rights. We belong to Qatar, and we ‎want to return to our homeland. We will keep demanding our rights until the last day of our ‎lives; no matter how long will the Qatari government ignore us. We urge the United Nations to ‎investigate Qatar for its actions against us,” Khaznah Bent Mohammed Al-Marri the daughter ‎of Al-Ghufran tribe told Egypt Today.‎

Al-Marri was barely five years old, when her tribe, Al-Ghufran, was expelled and uprooted from ‎Qatar in the 1990s. “The Qatari regime stripped our citizenship and I suddenly found myself ‎stateless and growing up in the middle of the desert where I had to struggle to access my basic ‎right to education as a child for the sole reason of belonging to Al-Ghufran tribe,” said Al Marri.‎

Among other thousands Qatari citizens who suffered from the injustice actions by the Qatari ‎regime, Al-Marri is desperately asking for action to end Al-Ghufran’s family plight. “In 1996; a ‎year after the successful coup by Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, father of the current emir Tamim ‎bin Hamad Al Thani, no more than 20 members of Al Ghufran tribe supported former emir ‎Khalifa bin Hammad’s failed attempt to get back into power,” said Al-Marri. “Since that day, ‎Hamad bin Khalifa decided to revenge against the whole tribe.

He expelled more than 6,000 ‎person into the desert in the South of Saudi Arabia including children, women and the elders ‎and revoked their passports. We were all left stateless,” she added. Now she estimates there ‎are more than 20,000 members of the tribe unable to get on with their lives in Qatar. ‎

‎“Many friends attempted to travel back to Qatar, but they were unable to prove their Qatari ‎origins and therefore they were left in between Saudi Arabia and Qatar for many days and they ‎were denied access to Qatar,” she said.‎

The Al-Marri family, including her father who was a successful petroleum engineer, was not ‎involved in the political power struggle and the failed counter-coup as they were on vacation at ‎that time. “Our friends warned us not to return and told us to stay for a few days in Saudi ‎Arabia until things calm down. The few days turned into decades of struggle, injustice and ‎hardship,” she added.‎

Recalling a tough upbringing in exile in Saudi Arabia comparing to living in one of the ‎wealthiest cities in the world, Al-Marri explains that the small desert village “Al Taweila” ‎became her home as she spent most of the past two decades there. “In Taweila, I spent three ‎years travelling two hours every day just to reach the nearest high school. We lived in ‎deteriorating houses with very harsh conditions including irregular electricity and clean water,” ‎she said. ‎

Despite her young age, Al-Marri has some memories of her five years in Qatar. “I remember ‎my swimming pool outside my house, and my small cat," she told Egypt Today. "I remember the ‎dining room where the family would sit and talk – everything was wonderful.” Despite her ‎anger towards the current regime in Qatar, her father always reminds her that the people in ‎Qatar are very nice and they have white hearts.

“My father is very sensitive about Qatar, when ‎I am angry about being kicked out, he tries to show me the good side of Qatar – he still loves ‎the country. He defends the people and say that maybe they did not hear our voices, but if they ‎hear, they will help us,” she said. “He used to tell me that people only get displaced during ‎wars, but here we are ‎displaced from our country and homes and there is no war around us.”‎

Al-Marri is currently a mother of two children, one of them is diagnosed with autism which ‎compounds her hardship as they still live under the same difficult conditions since the expulsion ‎in 1996. “I’ve lived through enough instability, now I have a child who is sick, I don’t want him to ‎live the same way I have lived. I cannot get him into a good school or a good hospital.”‎

This week, On the margins of the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ‎representatives from the Qatari tribe Al-Ghufran held a sit-in and a number of demonstrations ‎outside the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to denounce the Doha government crimes ‎against the tribe including the mass expulsion of their people, revoking their citizenship and the ‎torture of members of the tribes by the security forces.

The tribe also handed a petition into the ‎Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, detailing the tribe’s ‎systemic discrimination at the hands of the Qatari government and requesting the United ‎Nations Human Rights Council to hold the Qatar regime accountable for the crimes that it ‎committed against the tribe’s members and other Qataris and the restoration of their rights ‎including the right to return to their home country. ‎

In reaction for Al-Ghufran tribe’s opposition to the Regime’s destabilizing policies in the region ‎and its dispute with the neighboring Gulf States, Qatari authorities revoked the citizenship of ‎Sheikh Taleb Bin Lahom Bin Shreim, senior tribal leader Sheikh Shafi Nasser Hamoud al-Hajri, ‎the famous Qatari poet Mohammed Al-Marri and 54 members of his family in a step ‎considered as an arbitrary act by various Human Rights organization. The Qatari authorities ‎took further steps and confiscated the properties and belonging of the tribe’s members whose ‎citizenship was revoked. ‎

This was the second complaint filed by one of the biggest and most prominent tribes in Qatar to ‎the United Nations Human Rights Councils to call on the international community to protect and ‎secure their legitimate rights as Qatari citizens who have been denied and violated by Doha ‎since 1996 . ‎

For many years, the tribe has been calling for their rights. In September 2017, during the Qatar ‎global security and stability conference organized by exiled Qataris in London the tribe ‎revealed the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities towards them including ‎deprivation of healthcare or unfair detention. They called on the United Nations ‎Commissioner’s office to help them regain their rights through his mandate.‎

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