» News

Salam DHR Launches Report Entitled: "Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain: A Tool of Oppression"

2021-05-27 - 6:41 p

Bahrain Mirror: A human rights report, launched on Tuesday, revealed that 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.

Salam for democracy and Human Rights launched, in cooperation with, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the MENA Statelessness Network, on Tuesday (May 25, 2021), 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.

The report drew on Bahrain's revocation of citizenship of human rights defenders and advocates after the 2011 Bahraini uprising. It analyzed 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.

Among the speakers were: Caia Vlieks, research and education officer at Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI); Devin Kenney, gulf researcher at Amnesty International; Anthony Hu, researcher at Bahrain Centre for Human Rgihts (BCHR); Yoana Kuzmova, steering committee member of the MENA Statelessness Network (Hawiati); and Masaud Jahromi, holder of PHD and victim of revocation of nationality in Bahrain. Testimonies of victims of revocation of nationality and their families were also presented.

Throughout the report, it is demonstrated that revocation of nationality in Bahrain violates international standards and Bahrain's obligations under international law. In most cases of revocation of nationality, Bahrain has failed to respect its obligation to prevent, avoid and reduce statelessness. Almost all those who were stripped from their citizenship since 2012 were rendered stateless. Authorities did not take into consideration or ensure that statelessness isn't a consequence of nationality deprivation.

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 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.

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.

As a result of the gendered nature of revocations (overwhelmingly targeting men) and the gender discriminatory character of Bahrain's nationality law (only Bahraini fathers, not mothers, can pass their citizenship onto their children), the children born to victims of nationality revocation are also directly impacted. They, too, are denied Bahraini nationality, deprived of their basic rights and most likely rendered stateless as a result.

As demonstrated in the two study cases of Masaud M. Jahromi and Ibrahim Karimi, the authorities have abused nationality revocation powers with impunity, and allowed no serious grounds for challenging these arbitrary decisions under the basis that the government has the full right to assess what harms the integrity and stability of its internal and external security, and that the revocation of citizenship is not subject to judicial oversight.

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. 

Reflecting on the report's conclusions and recommendations, Abbas Taleb, the principle author of the report and SALAM DHR's member, said:" This arbitrary practice affects not only the victims, but also their families and future generations. Bahrain should reinstate full citizenship to those who were impacted, provide them with an effective remedy and reparation, and dismantle the arbitrary laws which enable citizenship revocations." 

Arabic Version