Geneva: The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) held Thursday a seminar titled, ‘Qatar: How to protect the Al Ghufran tribe?’ on the margins of the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

During the seminar, which saw a number of witnesses coming forward and speaking of the violations they suffered at the hands of the Qatari regime, the EOHR stressed its support for the Al Ghufran tribe. “EOHR is responsible for helping Al Ghufran tribe in their just war towards peace,” it stated.

The victims brought up a multitude of violations they suffered from, including the revocation of their Qatari citizenship.

The first speaker was the respected Jabir Bin Saleh Al Ghufrani, a tribal elder. “Al Ghufran tribe was subjected to injustices ... They [the Qatar government] have taken away our social, political and economic rights,” he said, adding that tribe members were moving to other countries after being deprived of their basic human rights.

“Dismissed from their jobs, deprived of medical treatment and things like electricity, the Al Ghufrani have suffered a lot. We, Al Ghufran tribe, have been subjected to a very difficult life in Qatar from 1996 to the deportation in 2005.”

“This started because a group of soldiers wanted to bring back Shaikh Khalifa [Bin Hamad] … they were about 118 officers, all of whom were captured by the existing government of Qatar … Only 21 Ghufrani officers were selected to be jailed or sent to court, the others were released and after being in jail for only a year, they started deporting all Ghufranis.”

Some of them stayed away, he said, “they elected to stay in Qatar and hide.” Most of them left, however, but a few could not leave their home; they could not imagine living anywhere else, he explained.

“Something is wrong with my government. They are doing something that no one has done before... It has never happened in the Gulf states.”

Another witness, Hamad Khalid Al Araq, a younger member of the Al Ghufran tribe. “I ask for my rights. Our people have been asking for our rights for a very long time now and no one has even explained to us why this is happening to us.”

He then presented clear-cut evidence of his Qatari citizenship: A passport of his grandfather who was born in Doha, Qatar in 1922. “We left in 2005 but before that we faced many obstacles from the Qatari government … I joined Qatar Petroleum twice, in 1995 and 2003...on both occasions, I received a letter of termination.”