Thousands of ordinary families have fallen victims to an ongoing spat between a group of Gulf states and Qatar, the human rights group Amnesty International charged in a press release on Friday.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are toying with the lives of thousands of Persian Gulf residents in a dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying peoples’ livelihoods and education, the release reads.
"For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear," Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Program James Lynch stated in the release.
"These drastic measures are already having a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives."
On 5 June Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE ordered Qatari nationals to leave their territories within 14 days and announced that all of their nationals had to return from Qatar, threatening penalties for anyone who did comply, the release explained.
The release cited Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee’s estimate of more than 11,000 nationals of the three nations living in Qatar. Many Qataris also live in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Gulf Arab nations, with the exception of Kuwait and Oman, acted because of Qatar’s longtime support for militant Islamist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the nation’s ties with regional rival Iran.
Earlier on Friday, President Donald Trump also urged Qatar to crack down on extremism, claiming the nation had historically funded extremists at a high level.
The dispute represents a dilemma for the United States since Qatar hosts the largest US Air Force base in the region while Bahrain hosts the headquarters for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Shortly before Trump spoke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the dispute was hurting the US-led war against the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia) and urged nations to work with Kuwait as a mediator to resolve tensions.