News Bulletin – September 9, 2019

Doha Prepares for Hosting Inaugural Edition of ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019

Out of the 14 sports that will be featuring at the inaugural edition of the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 from October 12 to 16, soccer, the king of sports, promises to be one of the major attractions at the Katara Beach in Doha.

In all, a total of 24 male and female teams, will be competing for fame and glory at the Games. The men’s event will witness the participation of 192 athletes from 16 nations while 80 players from eight nations will be involved in the women’s event.

At the draw ceremony held on August 27, four men’s groups were drawn with Brazil, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Morocco in Group A while Italy, Spain, Mexico and Solomon Islands make up Group B. Iran, Paraguay, Senegal and Ukraine are in Group C and Russia, Japan, Uruguay and El Salvador will play in Group D. In the women’s event, Spain, Brazil, Cape Verde and Mexico contest Group A, while Britain, Russia, the US and Paraguay are in Group B.

According to the regulations of the tournament, the top two teams from each group will go into the quarter-finals in the men’s event while the top two from each group goes into semis for women. They then compete for medals according to the system of the playoffs.

Historically, the first official beach soccer tournament was created in Rio de Janeiro in 1950 to unite neighbourhood small tourneys that has been played since 1940.

The surge in popularity, brought about through the participation of famous players including Eric Cantona, legendary Spanish strikers Michel and Julio Salinas and Brazilian stars such as Romario, Junior and Zico, has helped to expand television coverage to large audiences in over 170 countries worldwide since its inauguration.

FIFA became the global governing body of the sport in 2005 and the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was held in the same year at the Copacabana Beach, its ‘spiritual home’, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with France defeating Portugal 1-0 in a penalty shootout, following a 3-3 draw after extra-time, to emerge champions.

As per the game’s rule, a match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper and a match lasts a total of 36 minutes divided into three equal periods of 12 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the referee and the two teams.

Unlike conventional soccer, up to a maximum of seven substitutes may be used in any match played in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA, the confederations or the member associations.

The field of play is divided into two halves by an imaginary halfway line marked by two red flags located outside the pitch and the imaginary central point of this imaginary line is the exact position for the kick-off and certain free kicks. The pitch must be a minimum of 35m (37m max) in length and minimum of 26m (28m max) in width.

The penalty area is the area on the pitch between the goal line and an imaginary parallel line at 9m from the goal line and marked by two yellow flags placed next to each touch line outside the pitch.

The ball is spherical and made of leather or another suitable material and has a circumference of not less than 68cm and not more than 70cm. It weighs no more than 440g and no less than 400g at the start of the match and has a pressure of between 0.4 and 0.6 atmospheres at sea level. Fouls in beach soccer are penalised with a free kick or a penalty kick like its conventional counterpart.

Free kicks are awarded for various fouls. All free kicks are direct free kicks which has to be taken by the player who was fouled, unless awarded for deliberate handling.

The laws specify that all players apart from the opposing goalkeeper must clear a zone between the kicker and the goal.

Because of this and the small playing area, all free kicks represent a good opportunity to score. Penalties are awarded for fouls within the penalty area.

The beach soccer event of the competition kicks off on October 11 and will last for six days with the finals played on October 16. More than 1,300 athletes from around 90 countries are expected at the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 with action split between the Katara, Aspire and Al Gharafa beach venues in Doha.

Qatar Refutes Saudi Arabia’s Allegations Over Unjust Blockade

The State of Qatar affirmed its commitment to the rule of international law, noting that it has chosen at every turn of the Gulf crisis to cooperate with mechanisms of international law to reach a peaceful solution.

In a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, the State of Qatar called on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to follow suit and be courageous to present its allegations and evidence to independent international bodies and to cooperate with Kuwait’s ongoing mediation efforts to bring this crisis to an end.

The statement said, “At a time when all parties involved in the GCC dispute should be cooperating with the Kuwaiti mediation efforts rather than further escalating tensions in the region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) released a sudden and unfounded press release on 7 September 2019 that continues to regurgitate the oft repeated false allegations against the State of Qatar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the State of Qatar finds itself obliged to respond to this attempt at twisting the truth, and the release of self-serving and untrue statements.”

“KSA’s statement alleges that the coercive measures imposed on Qatar and Qataris merely constitute a cutting of diplomatic and consular ties. However, in reality, KSA’s unlawful coercive measures have been directed at both Qatar and its people, including closing all land, air and sea borders, expelling Qataris from Saudi Arabia with no basis, including the mass expulsion of Qatari pilgrims during the holy month of Ramadan merely for holding a Qatari citizenship, and continuing to unlawfully discriminate against Qatar and Qataris in every way possible,” the statement added.

“In addition, despite KSA’s claims that it welcomes Qataris to enter the country, several incidents of enforced disappearance of Qatari citizens have been reported including the most recent disappearance of a father and son documented by the National Human Rights Committee in Qatar as per the Committee’s Statement No. 6 of 2019, upon which Amnesty International on the 3 September 2019 called upon the KSA authorities to reveal their whereabouts.”

“It is also unfortunate that KSA insists on reiterating the same baseless accusations around the alleged support of terrorism by Qatar, a country that hosts the Global Coalition Against Daesh, and is a founding member of the Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) established in May 2017, one month before the imposition of the unlawful measures referred to in KSA’s statement.”

“While KSA refers to “international law,” it has acted in violation of international law at every turn. While KSA attempt to articulate justifications for its conduct, it has acted to avoid real accountability and justice before neutral bodies of the United Nations. The reason for KSA’s conduct is obvious: when faced with the possibility of a real neutral investigation and analysis of the facts underlying its conduct, it attempts to evade and to obfuscate,” the statement explained.

“For example, in September 2017, Qatar invited the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to dispatch a Technical Mission to Qatar and cooperated with the Mission to ensure that the truth would prevail. KSA took the opposite course: it ignored an invitation from the Technical Mission to conduct a similar mission in KSA and refused to engage with other UN bodies.

OHCHR, ultimately published a report in December 2017 which found that the KSA’s coercive measures “consisting of severe restrictions of movement, termination and disruption of trade, financial and investment flows, as well as suspension of social and cultural exchanges imposed on the State of Qatar, had immediately translated into actions applying to nationals and residents of Qatar, including citizens of KSA, UAE and Bahrain. Furthermore, the report states that “many of these measures have a potentially durable effect on the enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected,” the statement pointed out.

The statement further added, “KSA’s approach of denial and evasion has not changed, even as the crisis enters its third year. KSA’s deliberate and conscious violation of international law, including the protections under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) led Qatar to submit a complaint before the CERD Committee, an international body of experts charged with ensuring that the CERD is respected by all of the Member States, including KSA, which ratified the CERD on 23 September 1997.”

The statement said, “In that complaint, Qatar provided evidence of fundamental and deeply disturbing violations of the CERD. Contrary to what the KSA says in its press release, Qatar has presented actual evidence demonstrating that KSA’s “measures have separated young children from parents, husbands from wives, and disrupted families throughout the region. They have arbitrarily and indiscriminately interfered with the most basic elements of daily life for many within Qatar, KSA, and the other States, including their ability to practice their religion, to receive medical care, to obtain an education, and to work and own property in order to provide for themselves and their families-simply because they are Qatari, married to Qataris, the children of Qataris or otherwise linked to Qatar.”

“Although KSA announced that it would take into consideration the humanitarian situation of “mixed” families through “hotlines” or other steps, this has proven false. Both the OHCHR and Human Rights Watch have reported that such measures have largely been ineffective, and that in some cases individuals have not resorted to them for fear of retribution or harassment by the KSA Government. KSA also has criminalized certain expressions of “sympathy” for Qatar, including any criticism of or challenges to the KSA’s coercive measures, punishable by up to five years in prison. The criminalization of “sympathy” for Qatar in KSA has curtailed freedom of expression and created a climate of fear for Qataris as well as their non-Qatari friends, relatives, and supporters.”

The statement pointed out, “As a reminder, KSA, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt’s list of unreasonable and unactionable demands included the closure of a number of media outlets which is a clear violation of the international law obligation to protect and uphold freedom of expression.”

“KSA’s response to Qatar’s evidence was familiar: instead of engaging positively with the CERD Committee and Qatar in an attempt to conciliate the matter and end the suffering of Qataris, it argued that the Committee had no jurisdiction and no competence to deal with the matter.”

The statement explained, “Just a few days ago, on 2 September 2019, the CERD Committee released its decision, in which it resoundingly rejected KSA’s objections. In so doing, the CERD Committee stated that contrary to KSA’s arguments, the CERD requires that “State parties shall ensure that ‘non-citizens are not subject to collective expulsion, in particular in situations where there are insufficient guarantees that the personal circumstances of each of the persons concerned have been taken into account,’ and ‘that they shall avoid ‘expulsions of non-citizens, especially of long-term residents, that would result in disproportionate interference with the right to family life.” The CERD Committee concluded that KSA’s objections “must be rejected.”

The statement concluded, “Qatar is committed to the international rule of law. At every turn it has chosen to cooperate with international legal mechanisms in order to bring a peaceful resolution of this dispute. Qatar calls upon KSA to do the same: to have the courage to submit its allegations and supposed evidence to the scrutiny of independent international bodies and to cooperate with the ongoing Kuwaiti mediation efforts to find an end to this crisis. A resolution to this crisis and the lifting of the illegal blockade imposed upon Qatar since 5 June 2017 will benefit not only Qataris, but Saudis who also have been suffering because of the measures the Government of KSA has taken against Qataris, who are the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, students, and friends of the Saudi people.”

Qatar Participates in Fifth Meeting of GCC Integrity Protection and Anti-corruption Agencies

The State of Qatar participated in fifth meeting of the agencies responsible for promoting integrity and combating corruption in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is being held in Muscat, Oman.

The Qatari delegation was led by HE President of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA) Hamad bin Nasser Al Misned.

The meeting discussed the achievements of the GCC integrity protection and anti-corruption agencies in the past period, which witnessed the preparation of guidelines and a number of GCC initiatives in the areas of integrity protection and anti-corruption. The meeting also discussed the future work plan.

At the outset of the meeting, HE the ACTA President praised the efforts of the Sultanate of Oman in organizing this meeting and enhancing the joint GCC action in various fields, especially the protection of integrity and combating corruption.

His Excellency also pointed to the level of cooperation between the bodies concerned with protecting integrity and combating corruption in the Gulf countries, which was reflected in the flow of ideas and initiatives presented by the concerned bodies.

He stressed the need to develop a plan of action that takes into account the prioritization of topics and schedules, distributes tasks among national actors, and sets specific implementation mechanisms, so as to maximize the time and resources available and enhance their chances of success and benefit.

His Excellency reviewed the achievements of the State of Qatar in the field of preventing and combating corruption, the most recent of which was the adoption of the National Strategy for Promoting Integrity and Transparency.

He also announced Qatar’s bid to host the tenth session of the Conference of States Parties to be held in 2023, stressing that it is consistent with the legacy of the State of Qatar in upholding the role of the Convention against Corruption and strengthening its measures in order to continue to support the relevant international effort. He added that hosting the conference is in the interest of the Gulf countries in general not only the State of Qatar.

It is worth mentioning that the meeting approved a number of proposals of the ACTA, in particular the Gulf manuals for tenders and auctions, the civil service, asset recovery, and the curriculum for students of the Faculty of Law, which

aim to assist the Gulf States in implementing their obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Arab Convention, in addition to strengthening and bringing Gulf legal and institutional systems closer together.

Hamad Port Enters Guinness World Records as Deepest Artificial Basin on Earth

Hamad Port, Qatar’s gateway to world trade, has added a new achievement to its series of achievements by setting a new Guinness World Records title as the deepest artificial basin ever made on Earth.

HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti received the Guinness World Records certificate from the organization’s representatives at a special event held at MOTC premises today.

“Hamad Port winning of such a universal certificate signals the importance and size of the project. Such an achievement is a new addition to a collection of world records the country set at Guinness World Records. It also emphasizes Qatar’s capability of developing innovative projects in line with highest global standards,” HE the Minister said.

“Hamad Port’s continuing achievements place us before a double responsibility toward our society so as to continue our performance according to world standards and our ambitious goals,” His Excellency added.

He also noted that since construction operations began at Hamad Port the latest technologies have been in use to ensure highly-efficient work progress in line with best global quality standards. The concerted efforts from both staff and partners have always been the key to the ports milestones, he said.

Hamad Port’s basin is 4km long, 700 meters wide and 17 meters deep. Basin construction took about two and a half years of excavation, during which over 6900 tons of explosives were used to challenge the drafts – with full commitment to preserving wildlife and marine life – to extract more than 44.5 million cubic meters of dredged material, which was later used in other construction works at the project, resulting in huge savings.

This new Guinness World Records certificate is an addition to a collection of universal certificates and rankings the port has made recently as it was awarded high commendation in the Coastal Dredging Project of the year category at the inaugural IHS DPC Innovation Awards. The commendation was awarded to Hamad Port for the deployment of unique systems in the construction and excavation of the port basin, which was built on land in a rare operation of its kind in international ports in addition to its advanced infrastructure that supports the ecofriendly port technologies worldwide.

Hamad Port was also listed by the Lloyd’s List Global Awards 2018 among the top 8 international ports in the field of innovation and among the top 5 ports in terms of operations. The port was commended for deploying constructive initiatives and ideas, plus its efficient operational processes and overall unique performance.

In terms of operational processes, Hamad Port managed to set new records in August 2019, celebrating two key milestones; the handling of over 3 million TEUs and 7 million tons of general and bulk cargo since the commencement of operation of the facility.