Viewpoint: HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
The world faces significant political, economic and security threats, and challenges that do not respect the national borders of countries and put to the test the UN as a framework for collective security. If the international community wants to achieve security and stability in the world, it should go beyond managing crises and seek comprehensive and just solutions in accordance with the provisions of international law and international resolutions. This entails moving away from selectivity, double standards and the policy of imposing a fait accompli by force.
In Qatar we recognise and appreciate the great importance of the existence of a comprehensive, legitimate international order in which the rule of law prevails. It has become necessary to expedite the reforms required for UN organisations to shoulder their responsibilities to achieve the organisation’s noble goals and respond to the aspirations of peoples to achieve sustainable peace and justice.
More than a year after the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar, the international community recognised the falseness of the allegations propagated against our country. Despite all the measures taken to inflict harm on our security and stability, and create economic hardships for the Qatari people, the period that followed the beginning of the blockade has witnessed the strengthening of the status of our country, and consolidated its role as an active partner in the regional and global arena.
Qatar’s economy has continued to grow, proving its vigour and consistency. Furthermore, we have maintained our advanced and leading global indicator rankings vis-à-vis other countries in the region, especially in the areas of security and human development. This has strengthened the Qatari people’s faith in their potential and their values and principles, while cementing their sense of national unity.
We are assured of both the soundness of our legal position and in the necessity of peaceful settlement of all disputes. Moreover, we remain positively responsive to, and appreciative of, the efforts of all brotherly and friendly nations to bring about an end to this crisis through an unconditional dialogue based on the mutual respect of the sovereignty of nations.
It is not reasonable that differences of view regarding the handling of regional issues have paralysed the effectiveness of an important regional organisation, such as the GCC. However, we hope that together we will be able to transform the GCC’s current plight into an opportunity for reforming it and establishing binding mechanisms through which to resolve differences among states through dialogue.
In this way we hope to avoid the recurrence of any similar events in the future. It is not sensible for our Arab region to remain hostage to some marginal differences between states. These issues consume energy and waste funds in excess of what we need to allocate to the just causes that are supposed to be agreed upon by us. There is a consensus that terrorism has become one of the most outstanding challenges facing the world. Terrorism poses a real threat to international peace and security. As such, we affirm the position of Qatar in rejecting all shapes and forms of terrorism anywhere in the world, regardless of the reasons or pretexts given.
Indeed, the fight against terrorism is among the main policy priorities of our country at the national, regional and international levels. We have developed legislative and institutional systems to combat this threat, while fulfilling international obligations relating to the fight against terrorism and its financing. We also participate in all relevant international and regional efforts against terrorism. In our view the following endeavours are necessary in order to make the War on Terror achieve its aims and not to turn into a self-contained goal.
First, international cooperation in combating violence resulting from extremism and violence directed against civilians to terrorise them and to damage civilian facilities for political ends. These phenomena must be addressed firmly and rigorously. Second, unifying the standards of fighting terrorism so that its definition does not selectively depend on the religious or ethnic identity of the perpetrator. Third, addressing the roots and causes of this phenomena, and researching the political, social and cultural backgrounds that contribute to its development. We must also all work earnestly to achieve just settlements of lingering issues that feed feelings of anger and frustration. Lastly, the international community must avoid granting partisan connotations to the term terrorism, through tailoring it to fit into the narrow interests of some nations, while using it to justify tyranny and the repression of political opponents. Doing so affects the credibility of efforts to combat terrorism, and thereby harms the international efforts exerted to bring it to an end. In this context Qatar believes that educating young people and nurturing their comprehensive participation in social life represents the first line of defence for the collective security system. This approach constitutes an important way in which to fight terrorism, and build peace and stability across the world. Therefore, we have provided education to 10m children, and are providing job opportunities and economic empowerment to 1m young people in our region and beyond. Furthermore, in collaboration with the UN we have carried out projects to promote employment opportunities for young people through the building of capacity, and the launch of programmes to prevent the spread of violent extremism.
Human development and the protection and promotion of human rights are at the forefront of Qatar’s policy programme. We are pursuing efforts at both the legislative and institutional level to implement the Qatar National Vision 2030, which emphasises these policy goals. I am referring here to the fact that in May 2018 our country acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, our country has recently promulgated a law regulating the issue of political asylum in the country, in accordance with the standards followed by other developed countries. In addition, we have passed another law granting the right to permanent residence in the state under conditions prescribed by domestic law. In pursuit of these objectives, Qatar has also decided to invite several international human rights organisations to establish regional offices in the country.
No one doubts the utmost importance of the development of information, digital technology and digital communications. The economy and day-to-day life have become inconceivable without them. Nevertheless, a series of events recently experienced by several different countries reminded us that new necessities have emerged that were previously unknown. These include the freedom of access, and the need to protect the private sphere of citizens from the risk of hacking. These events have also alerted us to the issue of the cybersecurity of nations. These are cross-border issues because of the nature of the technology itself.
Accordingly, it is necessary to manage these issues and control their associated risks on an international level. Qatar and other countries have suffered from both digital piracy and digital espionage, and this has prompted us to strongly emphasise this issue and express our willingness to work with UN organisations to regulate them legally. Therefore, we propose convening an international conference to examine ways in which to regulate these matters through international law. Moreover, we express our readiness and willingness to host such a conference.
The above was from a speech given by HH the Amir at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in 2018.
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