Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain

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Publish Date : 06/14/2021 3:29
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From 2012 to 2019, a total of 985 individuals were arbitrarily stripped of their nationality either by a court order, a royal decree or ministerial order. Bahraini authorities have come to rely on revocation of nationality as a preferred tool of political repression.

Recently, Salam for democracy and Human Rights launched, in cooperation with, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the MENA Statelessness Network, a report entitled "Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain: A Tool of Oppression".


The report was launched through an online interactive seminar during which Jawad Fairooz, president of Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, spoke and Shayma Alqahs, a researcher at Salam DHR presented the report and its findings. Dr. Ali Ahmed Al-Dairi, an academic who published “Stateless”, a book about his citizenship revocation, stated: “the state of revoking your nationality plunges you into an existen.al ordeal that has no treatment or cure.”


The report drew on Bahrain's revocation of citizenship of human rights defenders and advocates after the 2011 Bahraini uprising. It analysed the Bahraini nationality law and subsequent amendments adopted by the state to revoke nationality and deny rights to its citizens to quell dissent. The power to revoke nationality and incur statelessness, though concentrated in the hands of the state, is not a power unchecked.
The report discussed human rights conventions, norms, international law, and further safeguards against statelessness in terms of the role they play in limiting unchecked State powers of revocation.

 

The key findings of the report include:
• From 2012 to 2019, a total of 985 individuals were arbitrarily stripped of their nationality either by a court order, a royal decree or ministerial order. Today, the total number is 434, after the King reinstated citizenship for 551 individuals in 2019;
• The majority of those who lost their nationality were rendered stateless and continue to face immense obstacles in enjoying their basic human rights;
• Nationality revocation has become one of the main weapons in the GoB’s arsenal, not to protect national security, but to stifle dissent, crack down on human rights defenders and further entrench the state’s authoritarian and an.- democratic agenda;
• The revocation of nationality has had serious effects on those concerned, denying them the ability to exercise their civil and political rights as well as their social, cultural and economic rights;
• Most of the victims who were still in Bahrain at the time of the revocation of their citizenship faced prosecution for staying in the country “illegally” and were eventually deported;
• Bahrain’s revocation of nationality is a clear violation to its obligations and standards set forth in international human rights law, including international standards relating to the avoidance of statelessness, prohibition of discrimination and prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of nationality, as well as other human rights considerations which must inform any decision to deprive nationality.


Today, the total number is 434, after the King reinstated citizenship for 551 individuals in 2019. The majority of those who lost their nationality were rendered stateless and continue to face immense obstacles in enjoying their basic human rights.


Nationality revocation has become one of the main weapons in the Bahraini government arsenal, not to protect national security, but to stifle dissent, crack down on human rights defenders and further entrench the state's authoritarian and democratic agenda. The revocation of nationality has had serious effects on those concerned, denying them the ability to exercise their civil and political rights as well as their social, cultural and economic rights.


“Bahrain seems intent on earning the dubious honor of leading the region in stripping citizenship,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “While authorities claim that these acts are linked to national security, they are in fact punishing many people merely for peacefully voicing dissent.”
Bahraini authorities have come to rely on revocation of nationality as a preferred tool of political repression.

 

 

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“ Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain ”