Qatar Secures Unprecedented Victories Before Human Rights Body at United Nations

August 29, 2019

The State of Qatar (Qatar) has prevailed over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in decisions made public on August 29, 2019 by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (the Committee) at the United Nations in Geneva. These decisions represent the very first decisions on inter-State communications ever rendered by a human rights treaty body at the United Nations in Geneva.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt, imposed a series of unlawful and discriminatory measures against Qatar and Qataris. In response, Qatar submitted two inter-State communications to the Committee against Saudi Arabia and the UAE, demonstrating their blatant violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the CERD).

Saudi Arabia and the UAE objected to the jurisdiction of the Committee and the admissibility of the communications. Nevertheless, in decisions rendered today, the Committee either outright rejected them or joined them to the merits of Qatar’s communications, which are going to be considered by ad hoc conciliation commissions, the next step in the resolution of inter-State communications under the CERD.

Foley Hoag LLP represents Qatar in these proceedings, as well as in other proceedings before the International Court of Justice and other international fora arising from the unlawful and discriminatory measures imposed on Qatar by its neighboring countries since June 2017. The firm’s team of lawyers included partners Constantinos Salonidis and Larry Martin, special counsel Pierre d’Argent, counsel Arsalan Suleman, and associates Joseph Klingler, Tracy Roosevelt and Peter Tzeng.

These decisions will go down in history as victories not only for Qatar, but for human rights and the values enshrined in the CERD,” said partner Constantinos Salonidis. “States cannot irresponsibly and disproportionately discriminate against foreign nationals and expect not to be held accountable by the international community.”

Foley Hoag specializes in the representation of sovereign States in disputes with other States and foreign investors before international courts and arbitral tribunals. It is consistently ranked in Band One, the highest level, for Public International Law by Chambers Global, which reports: “Foley Hoag LLP stands out because of its high level of competence and admirable record of cases handled and won.”