Bahrain: Detainee At Risk Of Deportation Due To The Discriminatory Citizenship Law
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern over the possibility of expulsion/deportation of a Bahraini-born young man who has just completed a prison sentence.
On 29 April 2014, Mahmoud Ahmed Khori (21 years-old) completed a one-year prison sentence on charges related to monitoring and reporting on police movements for the popular protests which are regularly banned and attacked by the security forces. He was due to be released on 29 April, however, instead of releasing him he was transferred to the temporary detention center under the immigration custody and there is serious concern that he will be expelled from Bahrain instead of being released.
Khori was born in Bahrain to a Bahraini mother and a stateless father with Iranian origins. As Bahraini national law deprives a Bahraini mother married to a non-Bahrain from passing her nationality to her children, Khori has grown up and lived in Bahrain without receiving Bahraini nationality.
In Bahrain, women married to foreigners do not have the right to pass on their nationality to their husbands or children, even if they are born on Bahraini soil. At of the end of 2011, there were 2,662 children of Bahraini mothers and foreign fathers who had filed requests between 2004 and 2007 to be granted Bahraini citizenship. In 2008, an additional 397 applications were submitted and under review. In January 2014, the Cabinet approved a decision granting Bahraini nationality to the children of Bahraini women married to foreigners subject to certain conditions. It was forwarded for further discussion to Parliament; however, a final decision has yet to be taken by the government.
As stateless citizens, the children of Bahraini women a great deal of difficulties when they attempt to receive services from hospitals or schools, and are not treated equally by government institutions. They face even larger difficulties in obtaining jobs or getting married when they grow up.
In the recent UN CEDAW review meeting, the committee has noted “the slow pace of adoption of the draft amendments to the Nationality Law” and expressed concern “about the situation of stateless persons, including the possibility of children of Bahraini women married to foreigners becoming stateless.” It has “urged Bahrain to expedite the amendments to the Nationality Law, to bring it into full compliance with article 9 of the Convention, and to withdraw its reservation to article 9 (2).
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United Kingdom, the United States, and all other close allies of the Bahraini government to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to:
- To immediately release Mahmoud Khori and guarantee his safety and security in his home country Bahrain.
- To end the harassment and intimidation of those have become stateless due to unfair and discriminatory laws, and to refrain from further expulsion of Bahraini nationals;
- To adhere to the recommendation of the CEDAW committee and to expedite the process of ending the practice of discrimination against children of a Bahraini mother and grant them the nationality.